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Personal Trainer Sues Life Time Fitness for Sexual Harassment

A former Life Time Fitness trainer is suing the Chanhassen, MN-based company on the grounds of sexual harassment and retaliation.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Lisa Ryan Flores of Cypress, TX, on May 19 in Harris County (TX) District Court against Life Time and Todd Buckland, a Life Time employee who was Flores’s team leader. Flores accuses Buckland of inappropriate and unwanted sexual behavior.

In July 2009, Flores was transferred from Life Time’s Cinco Ranch location to its Houston City Centre location, where the alleged behavior took place, according to the complaint. Among other accusations, Flores claims Buckland put his hand down her pants and would send her unwanted text messages outside of work late at night.

After reporting the alleged sexual advances around Sept. 1, 2009, Flores claims Life Time led a campaign of retaliation against her, and that led to her wrongful termination. The tactics, Flores claims, included demoting her, which reduced her income. She claims Life Time’s corporate human resources department scolded her because she asked club managers about Buckland’s status at the club.

On Oct. 21, 2009, Flores filed claims of harassment and subsequent retaliation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Civil Rights Division of the Texas Workforce Commission. During mediation, Flores was fired by Leslie Simoneau, general counsel for Life Time Fitness, according to the complaint.

In addition to sexual harassment and retaliation, Flores is suing on the grounds of assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress. She is seeking damages that include back pay, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.

Life Time says it does not comment on legal matters.

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