“In coastal towns, training is 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 big draw for people of color.” But the management structure, she observed, is often white and masculine.
In response to the verdict, Equinox has not engaged in the current fashion of self-reprobation and vows to do better. Instead, he released a statement saying he “vehemently disagrees” with the finding and will “not condone discrimination in any form.” In the motion he filed asking the court to reconsider the case, either by way of a new trial or a reduction in compensation, the lawyers argued that the jurors, “guided by sympathy and emotion”, had “wrongly” adhered to the plaintiff’s request. that she had been the victim of racial animosity and “inflicted extreme and impermissible damages” as a result.
The case largely revolved around allegations that a manager who reported to Ms Europe, a middle-aged white man whom she described as isolated by his relationships with people above her, was refusing to leave. accept as supervisor. She claimed he repeatedly delivered his vulgar views on black women’s bodies, called non-white employees “lazy” and expressed hope he could get them fired; he called a black colleague “autistic.”
In early spring 2019, according to the lawsuit, he “demanded” that his boss wait outside the gym with him for a young black woman to leave a cafe where she worked so he could make a pass at her, on the theory that he would be better off with a black person standing next to him. Ms Europe, according to the complaint, “refused to be a racial pawn”.
The accumulation of these incidents, she testified, made her time at Equinox so stressful that the bulimia she struggled with for much of her life worsened. While working there, Ms. Europe told me, her condition was serious enough that she began to vomit several times a day and vomit blood; she eventually had to enter an eating disorder treatment program. Her female lawyers, all women at Crumiller, which describes itself as “a feminist litigation firm”, argued that their client’s complaints to male bosses had gone unheard.