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Former Equinox trainer Robynn Europe wins $11.25 million from former employer in lawsuit

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Upscale gym chain Equinox has been ordered to pay one of its former trainers $11.25 million after its lawyers convinced a New York jury that his firing was racially motivated and not because ‘she was late for work 47 times.

During the jury trial, Robynn Europe, 39, did not dispute Equinox’s claims that she was late, but said other coaches who were late the same number of times were not punished, reports the New York Times.

Online records show Europe living near the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, New York, the southernmost tip of the borough. It’s about 17 miles from the Equinox Gym, located on 92nd Street in Manhattan’s affluent Upper East Side neighborhood.

The jury found that Europe, a former professional bodybuilder, was subjected to a hostile work environment and unlawfully fired her because of her race and gender.

Europe testified that a manager who reported to her, Christopher Maltman, often made vulgar comments about black women’s bodies, turned personal training clients away from employees of color, and routinely harassed staff with offensive language.

Former Equinox trainer Robynn Europe says she was fired from her job at the posh downtown gymnasium because of racial discrimination

Europe alleged in her lawsuit that she suffered multiple instances of gender and racial discrimination at the gym, pictured here

Europe alleged in her lawsuit that she suffered multiple instances of gender and racial discrimination at the gym, pictured here

Her lawyers argued that instead of responding to Europe’s complaints, they used her delay as a pretext to fire her. A statement from his attorneys says Maltman is still working at the gym.

Europe was represented at trial by Crumiller, known as the feminist litigation firm.

In a statement, Susan Crumiller called Equinox’s behavior “appalling” and said “justice prevailed”.

“This is not just a victory for our client, but for all black women who have experienced this harmful combination of racism and sexism too often tolerated in the workplace. We couldn’t be prouder of Röbynn for his relentless determination to hold Equinox accountable for his despicable misogyny,’ Crumiller said.

Europe compared her treatment at Equinox to her experiences as a scholarship student at the exclusive Brearley School on East 83rd Street in an interview with The Times where she says she was subjected to similar occasional racism.

The Times report says the jury that awarded millions of dollars to Europe was overwhelmingly white and made up of five women and three men.

Europe told The Times that she has worked as a trainer since 2006, using it to become a professional bodybuilder. Previously, she studied art at university and aspired to become a tattoo artist.

Europe, right, was a former professional bodybuilder and called herself a

Europe, right, was a former professional bodybuilder and called herself a “lardo” before she started working in an office at a New York gym.

Europe compared her treatment at Equinox to her experiences as a scholarship student at the exclusive Brearley School on East 83rd Street in an interview

Europe compared her treatment at Equinox to her experiences as a scholarship student at the exclusive Brearley School on East 83rd Street in an interview

“Racism and sexism — they’re just pervasive in the fitness industry,” Europe said. She described those in power in the industry as being predominantly white and male.

“In coastal towns, training is something you can do without a degree and you can make $75 an hour – there aren’t a lot of opportunities to do that, so it’s a big draw for people of color,” Europe added.

His lawyers argued that Maltman refused to accept Europe as his superior in the workplace. They said Maltman openly said he wanted to fire non-white employees and called one “autistic.”

In another instance, Maltman was accused of “demanding” Europe stand with him outside so he could make a pass to a young black woman who was leaving work near the gymnasium. They said Maltman thought he would look better if he was with a black person when he made his approach.

1685173274 739 Former Equinox trainer Robynn Europe wins 1125 million from former

“Racism and sexism – they’re just all over the place in the fitness industry,” said Europe

Europe also accused Equinox of forcing at the request of at least one client, a white male, to have a white trainer. The same day she filed a complaint about it, she received a second formal warning for being late. It was three months before she was fired.

The manager who forced the request for a white coach was eventually fired.

All of this led Europe to a relapse of bulimia which she struggled with for most of her life. The bulimia got so bad that she started vomiting blood.

Equinox plans to appeal the jury’s decision.

Europe previously coached at Chelsea Piers Sports Center in New York, where she was featured in Racked.com ‘Best Coaches Competition.’

In an interview with the website, Europe said she was “the least athletic person you will ever meet.” I was pretty much a total lardo until I decided I wanted to put my life/health/body together and become a coach.

She also opened up about her love for New York’s hardcore and punk music scene as well as her love of nail art, something she used during her bodybuilding career.

“A lot of times women who do bodybuilding are labeled manly, but nothing says more feminine than a Hello Kitty manicure with pink bows and poop attached to your fingernails,” she said. Vice in a separate 2011 interview.

In this interview, Europe said she had been straight edge for most of her life, not drinking, smoking, or using drugs, including marijuana.

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