After reporting experiences of racism and sexism while working at Equinox as a trainer, this woman has been awarded more than $11.3 million following a lawsuit against the upscale fitness center.
According to REVOLT, Röbynn Europe first began working at Equinox in 2018. Although she climbed the ranks expeditiously, she admits that treatment toward her quickly changed after she was given the task of overseeing 15 employees.
How It All Began
When Europe allegedly experienced everything from vulgar remarks to having her authority challenged, and even hearing firsthand how workers objectified the bodies of Black women, she filed a report with higher-ups.
Less than a year later, in 2019, she was fired from the company.
She was fired under the claims that she had been late a total of 47 times during her 11 months with the company. However, thanks to data pulled from employee swipe-ins, several non-Black managers had a habit of showing up to work not only late but far beyond the start of their shifts. Therefore, Europe was being “punished by selective enforcement of the attendance policy, according to CBS News,” REVOLT reports.
At the time, Europe believed that she was targeted out of retaliation for her previous report about treatment from her colleagues. Ultimately, however, a presiding judge over the case threw out the claims.
Now, she is celebrating a victory after she challenged the move by filing a lawsuit against Equinox. Per court records, after enduring a toxic work atmosphere, which included alleged unfair treatment due to her race and gender, Europe is set to receive $10 million in punitive damages as well as $1.25 million in compensatory damages and $16,000 in back pay.
On May 19, the jury ruled in Europe’s favor. Her attorney reflected on the message they hope this sends to the Equinox company.
The Court's Ruling
“The jury sent a loud message to Equinox that there are serious consequences for corporations that permit racist and sexist behavior in the workplace,” said Susan Crumiller. “Let this be a warning to all businesses in New York that if you try to brush harassment and discrimination under the rug, you will not get away with it.”
At this time, Equinox reportedly plans to file a motion to overturn the jury’s decision.