“In coastal towns, internships are something you can do without a degree and you can make $75 an hour—there aren’t a lot of opportunities to do that, so it’s a huge draw for people of color.” But she notes that the management structure is mostly white and male.
In response to the ruling, Equinox did not engage in the current method of self-blame and vows to do better. Instead, she issued a statement saying she “strongly disagrees” with the finding and did not “tolerate discrimination in any form.” In her petition asking the court to reconsider the case, either by a new trial or a reduction of the arbitral award, the attorneys asserted that the jurors, “guided by sympathy and emotion,” had “wrongly” bought the plaintiff’s claim that she was a victim of racial hostility and “caused damage extreme and unreasonable” as a result.
The case revolves in large part around allegations that a manager told Ms. Europe, a middle-aged white man she described as isolated with relationships with people above her, that he had refused to accept her as his supervisor. She alleged that he repeatedly hurled his vulgar remarks at black women’s bodies, referred to non-white employees as “lazy” and hoped he could fire them; One of his co-workers called black people “autistic.”
In early spring 2019, the lawsuit alleged that he “demanded” his boss to wait outside the gym with him until a young black woman left the coffee shop where she works so he could pass her by, on the theory that he would be better off with a black person by his side. Ms. Europe, according to the complaint, “refused to be a racial pawn.”
She testified that the accumulation of these incidents made her time at Equinox so stressful that the bulimia she had suffered from for most of her life worsened. Mrs. Europe, while working there, told me that her condition was so bad that she began to vomit several times a day and began to vomit up blood. She eventually had to enter a treatment program for eating disorders. Her attorneys, all women at Crumiller, which describes itself as a “feminist litigation firm,” argued their clients’ complaints to the male bosses had not been heard.