A New York City jury has decided to award a former Equinox gym trainer a whopping $11.25 million after she successfully sued her former employer for dismissing her after she was late to work a total of forty-seven times in less than a year. The 39-year-old bodybuilder, Robynn Europe, claimed that her termination from the luxury gym was racially motivated and was not because she was late so many times to work.
Europe lives near Coney Island in Brooklyn, which was a total of seventeen miles from the Equinox gym where she worked on 92nd Street in the wealthy Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan. The jury found that the former Equinox trainer was fired after she was subjected to a hostile work environment and fired on the bases of her race and gender rather than because of any other reason that the gym might have claimed.
In her lawsuit, Europe claimed that a manager who reported her for tardiness, Christopher Maltman, would regularly make vulgar comments about the bodies of Black women. He would also allegedly divert clients away from the Black personal trainers and would regularly harass staff with offensive language and verbal attacks.
Europe’s lawyer was Susan Crumiller, who called Equinox’s behavior “appalling” and that, thankfully “justice prevailed” in the courtroom when Europe was awarded damages for her mistreatment by the manager.
“This is not just a victory for our client but for all Black women who have suffered that noxious combination of racism and sexism that is too often tolerated in the workplace. We could not be prouder of Röbynn for her relentless determination to hold Equinox accountable for its vile misogynoir,” said Europe’s lawyer.
In an interview with the New York Times, Europe explained that she had been working as a trainer since 2006. She used her career in the physical fitness industry to pursue her passion for bodybuilding and went on to become a professional bodybuilder.
“Racism and sexism — they are just pervasive in the fitness industry,” Europe said. She said that people in positions of power are predominantly white and male. “In coastal cities, training is something you can do without a degree, and you can make $75 an hour — there are not a lot of opportunities to do that, so it’s a big draw for people of color.”
What do you think about this woman winning her lawsuit against the gym?