NEW YORK -- Two former employees of a New York fitness club have filed a lawsuit against the club for alleged sex-based discrimination and retaliation. The two say they were fired after they filed sexual harassment complaints with the club’s human resources department.
The suit was filed last week in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn against Battery Park Swim & Fitness and its owners, TFC Partners Inc., and New Fitness Concepts.
Courtney McCallion and Maggie Alexander had worked at Battery Park Swim & Fitness in New York. McCallion had served as a membership consultant, and Alexander had served as a receptionist before becoming a personal trainer at the club. They were fired in May and June of this year.
McCallion and Alexander allege that club manager David Anglin made repeated sexual and offensive remarks to them. In the complaint, McCallion alleges that Anglin once told her that she had “way too much cleavage showing.” Another time, he allegedly snapped McCallion’s bra strap while uttering comments such as, “Giving away the farm, are we?”
Alexander alleges in the complaint that Anglin offered to give her a full-body massage and once unfavorably compared her breast size to another female employee. Alexander also was told by a male employee that Anglin once asked him if he wanted to have sex with Alexander.
McCallion, Alexander and three other female employees made sexual harassment complaints to the club’s human resources director, Lynn Prudhomme, whom Anglin once referred to as “one mad lesbian,” according to the complaint. The plaintiffs allege that Prudhomme responded to the complaints with the following statement: “Ladies, we’re in a recession here. I doubt whether anyone wants to try to find another job in this economy. If you guys can’t figure out a way to get along with David, I am going to replace everyone on staff.”
All five employees were eventually fired in retaliation for filing the grievance, according to the complaint. The club later alleged that McCallion and Alexander had offered sexual favors and drugs to the club’s members.
“They did everything classically wrong,” Jack Tuckner of the law firm Tuckner, Sipser, Weinstock & Sipser LLP, says about club management. Tuckner’s firm represents McCallion and Alexander. “There was smoking gun, pulsating proof that this was mistreatment. It’s really inexplicable that the company would take this ostrich defense and fire everybody.”
Tuckner says his firm attempted to reach out to Battery Park Swim & Fitness and its owners before filing the suit.
“We gave the company a confidential letter,” Tuckner says. “They told us to go fish.”
Anglin did not return a phone call for this story. An employee at the club said that he had suffered a back injury and would not return to the club for at least two weeks.