A Black woman who sued the weight loss and wellness clinic chain Lindora LLC alleging her management job was wrongfully eliminated in 2020 can proceed with part of her race harassment claim, in which she says she was offended by being called “Cardi B,” a judge ruled.

However, in her decision handed down Monday in plaintiff Tiffany Robertson’s lawsuit, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Laura Seigle agreed with Lindora attorneys that two remarks made two days apart in June 2020 by Lindora’s white chief people officer, Carol Farrell, about George Floyd were protected free speech under the state’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) law.

“During the summer of 2020, many, if not most, people across the country knew about, were discussing, or had their lives impacted by the murder of George Floyd and the protests,” the judge wrote. “This was not an isolated event, but instead a spur to conversation, debate, and action that continues until today.”

In addition, the remarks are insufficient to show a definite pattern of harassment because they were uttered two days apart, and neither comment was as severe as calling someone a derogatory slur, Seigle added. Robertson provided no evidence the statements were directed at her because of her race, the judge wrote.

In contrast, Cardi B is a rapper with blonde extensions who used to be a gang member, stripper, and victim of domestic violence, while Robertson, although also Black and female with blonde extensions, is a professional career woman and “completely inapposite of Cardi B,” the judge concluded.

The judge ruled that Lindora is entitled to attorneys’ fees for prevailing on part of the anti-SLAPP motion.

The other allegations in Robertson’s lawsuit, filed April 20, include wrongful termination, race discrimination, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Also named as a defendant is Bariatric Weight Management Systems, which co-owns and operates the clinics with Lindora.

Robertson says she was hired in November 1993 and received several promotions and pay increases. She was promoted to an area manager position in September 2016, a job in which she often visited Lindora’s corporate headquarters and interacted with its executive management, according to her court papers.

In June 2020, Lindora’s chief marketing officer, a white man named Steve Patterson, referred to Robertson during one such visit as “Cardi B,” which the plaintiff believed to be racist and found offensive, the suit alleges.

That same month, Farrell held a Zoom conference with area managers, including Robertson, in which she said it was “horrible” that Floyd was killed by then-Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, but that the looting that took place during subsequent protests should stop, the suit says.

“Her comment resonated with undertones of white privilege by emphasizing the stealing of goods from shops over the brutal murder of an innocent Black man,” the suit alleges.

Robertson was hurt by Farrell’s remark and subsequent statement the next day at the corporate office where, in Robertson’s presence, she called Floyd a “criminal” and told the plaintiff that she heard Floyd had once held up a pregnant woman at gunpoint, according to the suit.

Farrell told Robertson that after she heard about Floyd’s past, it changed her opinion of him, suggesting his death was justified, according to the suit.

Robertson says she later made written complaints of race discrimination and harassment to Lindora CEO Will Righeimer, who is white, and also protested that Lindora did not honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day and about the “apparent lack of Blacks in management.”

Righeimer was “dismissive” about Robertson’s concerns and said he was not going to discipline Patterson or Farrell, according to the lawsuit.

In July 2020, Robertson was given a written 30-day corrective action plan for alleged operational deficiencies at the Lindora clinic in South Torrance, which the plaintiff maintains were caused by the onsite clinic manager and other staff members.

Robertson says she soon thereafter took a medical leave of absence for a serious health condition and returned to work in September 2020. She was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement, which she did under duress, and a promise to arbitrate all disputes, which she refused to sign, the suit states.

Robertson’s job was eliminated in October 2020, but she alleges the motive for doing so was based on her race, her complaints and because she took medical leave.

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