NEW YORK and LOS ANGELES, March 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A former Planet Fitness manager has filed a civil suit naming the company CEO Christopher Rondeau, as well as other executives as defendants, citing a "debaucherous" work environment that led to rape, sexual harassment and frequent drinking at work. The original complaint was filed in September, with the amendment naming the CEO filed on February 14.
Casey Willard claims that not only female employees were sexually harassed, managers had sexual relationships with subordinates and that she was drugged and raped by a manager and his friends on business trip in 2017.
The suit also alleges that managers encouraged staff to drink through regular customs such as "Fireball Friday" and "Beer Cart Friday" with the drinking starting as early as 8:30 a.m. Willard claims that employees were encouraged to join in these activities, facing scrutiny and exclusion from future events.
According to the amendment, the Planet Fitness executives named in the suit "aided, abetted, incited, compelled, or coerced" the staff to engage in the unlawful and discriminatory practices. The senior management "almost entirely consisted" of men who "engaged in pretend sexual conduct" toward female employees, as well as made sexual comments.
Planet Fitness executives named in the suit are the company's President and CFO Dorvin Lively, former Vice President of Real Estate and Development Joshua Beyer and Vice President of Construction Al Buell.
Willard is seeking enhanced compensatory damages, lost wages, back pay, front pay, attorney's fees, costs and other damages. She claims that she was wrongfully terminated as retaliation for speaking out about the hostile work environment. Although Willard did resign from her job, she says that "a reasonable person subjected to these conditions would feel forced to resign," due to the conditions of her former workplace.
In December, Planet Fitness's vice president of public relations and communications, McCall Gosselin, said the company disputes Willard's claims. She said that Planet Fitness investigated the claims made by Willard and fired an employee for violation of company policy. She stated the company also later learned of a consensual relationship between Willard and a supervisor that Willard did not disclose. The supervisor was fired.
Carney Shegerian, the founder of Los Angeles-based employee rights law firm Shegerian & Associates, has weighed in on Willard's suit.
"The harassment and retaliation that Ms. Willard faced at Planet Fitness is unconscionable," Shegarian says. "All employees should have a safe and inclusive workplace."
About Shegerian & Associates:
Shegerian & Associates has won clients over $200 million in employment-based disputes and maintains a 98% success rate. We have offices in Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside and New York.
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SOURCE Shegerian & Associates