ORLANDO, Fla. (WESH) – A central Florida woman filed a discrimination lawsuit against Planet Fitness, stating that she was overlooked for a number of promotions over the years she worked there.
The lawsuit says she was passed over because of her race.
Their representative is the nationally known lawyer Ben Crump. Gathered on the steps of the federal court, attorney Ben Crump played a Planet Fitness slogan, “The No Judgment Zone.”
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Crump says Sunshine Fitness, a franchise company that owns several Planet Fitness centers, has discriminated against its customer, T’Unica Mitchell, based on race.
Crumps says that in the five years Mitchell worked for Planet Fitness in multiple central Florida locations, including Apopka, Eustis, and Leesburg, Mitchell was passed over at least ten times to be promoted to African American, even once to a woman who Mitchell had trained and had only worked at Planet Fitness for eight months.
According to the lawsuit, a Planet Fitness executive once said to Mitchell, “You would be a better assistant general manager in the South.”
In the lawsuit, Mitchell said she has won numerous awards, received praise from her managers, colleagues and colleagues, and received great performance reviews.
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In an email, Sunshine Fitness replied, in part, by saying, “We strongly deny the allegations made in this claim.” They went on to say that they are “deeply committed to inclusion” and that nearly 25% of Sunshine Fitness Management’s executives describe themselves as Black or African American and nearly 50% as a minority.
Court records show that T’Unica Mitchell sued a former employer, Office Depot, in 2002, claiming she was passed over for promotions. This case was settled for an unknown amount of money.
In response to Office Depot’s lawsuit, Mitchell’s legal team said in part, “Unfortunately, systemic racism in companies remains a problem in recent history. When injustice occurs between employer and employee, brave people will speak up. “