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Instructors File Sexual Harassment Suit against David Barton Gym

Two fitness instructors are suing New York-based David Barton Gym on the grounds of a hostile work environment based on sexual orientation and gender discrimination.

Deborah Cooke and Christina Rodino claim they were fired by the company on Dec. 2 after complaining about rude comments and innuendos about their sexual orientation that occurred at the club. Cooke and Rodino are homosexual, according to the complaint filed last Tuesday in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York in Manhattan.

David Barton Gym says it terminated the instructors because they were training outside clients. Cooke, who was making $100,000 a year, and Rodino, who was making $60,000 a year, say that they were replaced by heterosexual trainers with fewer professional qualifications and that straight employees who train non-members were not disciplined, according to the complaint.

Cooke, who was a training manager and part-time director of education at the gym, and Rodino, who was a Pilates instructor at the gym, also claim that owner David Barton has engaged in “molesting female staff members.” Barton’s lawyer, Brian Haskel, says it is the gym’s policy not to comment on ongoing litigation.

“Our client prides itself on its commitment to diversity, freedom of expression and tolerance, and it plans to vigorously defend itself against these claims,” Haskel told the New York Post.

There are three David Barton Gyms in New York and one each in Chicago, Miami and Seattle.

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