The Equinox fitness chain is being sued by a Black former employee, who alleges management at the Los Angeles location where he worked racially discriminated against and harassed him, then fired him in 2018 when he complained.
An Equinox representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Jordan Pugh-Weir’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, which seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Pugh-Weir began working at the Equinox facility in the 10900 block of Wilshire Boulevard in October 2013.
“(Pugh-Weir) felt being targeted and treated differentially by his managers for being one of the two African-American employees employed by Equinox at the time,” according to the suit, which alleges a white manager “evidently favored non-African American employees in terms of work assignment and scheduling.”
The 32-year-old North Hollywood resident also was denied uninterrupted rest breaks and worked for periods of more than four hours without a 10-minute rest period, his complaint alleges.
In August 2018, Pugh-Weir says he contracted a staph infection and saw a doctor who told him to take five days off to recover. In the middle of that same month, Pugh-Weir returned to work and was written up because the employee who was supposed to cover his shift on one of the days he was on sick leave failed to show up, according to his suit.
“Overwhelmed with stress and anxiety regarding his job security and financial stability, (Pugh-Weir) broke down in tears,” according to the court papers, which also allege his work schedule was “abruptly changed” without his input, denying him the courtesy commonly given non-Black employees.
Pugh-Weir sent an email to management asking for a meeting to discuss the schedule change and “expressed his concerns about the ongoing discrimination and unfair treatment,” the suit states. But in a subsequent meeting, Pugh-Weir alleges he was pressured to step down as a desk manager.
Pugh-Weir was fired on Sept. 12, 2018, two days after his most recent complaint about work conditions, the suit filed Thursday states.
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