Former Desk Manager at Equinox Settles Race Discrimination Suit


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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Black former Equinox employee has settled his lawsuit against the fitness chain in which he said management at the Los Angeles location where he worked racially discriminated against and harassed him, then fired him in 2018 when he complained.

An attorney for plaintiff Jordan Pugh-Weir filed court papers Monday with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Theresa Traber stating that an "unconditional" settlement was reached, but no terms were divulged.

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 alleged a white manager "evidently favored non-African American employees in terms of work assignment and scheduling."

The 35-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 filed in July 2020 alleged.

Pugh-Weir says he contracted a staph infection in August 2018 and saw a doctor who told him to take five days off to recover. In the middle of that 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 alleged 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 stated. But in a subsequent meeting, Pugh-Weir allegedly 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 stated.

But according to the Equinox attorneys' court papers, Pugh-Weir was initially an average employee who near the end of 2014 began to display a disregard for the policies of the company, including time clock use and compliance with requirements that he take timely meal periods.

In 2016, the plaintiff's job performance worsened as he faltered in his attendance and his ability to follow company instructions, according to the company's lawyers' court papers, which further state that Equinox "followed a patient and consistent path to attempt to correct his performance shortcomings and terminated his employment only when this proved impossible."

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