Former LA Fitness Employee Files Discrimination Claim Against Gym After Being Told Her Fro Was A ‘N****r’ Hairstyle
According to management, a fro isn't "classy."
Aireial Mack didn't expect to be fired for calling out racial discrimination, but that's exactly what happened. Now, she's speaking out.
According to the New Orleans Advocate, Mack was once employed by LA Fitness in Slidell, Louisiana. The former sales rep said she was taken aback on January 2, when she received a text from her white supervisor Blake Mata that read:“We took you off the schedule because your (hair) doesn't meet LA FITNESS STANDARDS in a fro. We want a classy appearance. We don't want to leak off a n***er style don't take it wrong, just change it."
Unfortunately for Mack, who is a black woman, it wasn't the first time racially charged language had been used towards her. However, upon bringing it to the attention of the gym’s manager, she was fired only days later. The 26-year-old has gone on to file a discrimination claim with the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights against both LA Fitness and its parent company, Fitness International. The Louisiana Commission is the state's version of federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Their intent is investigate harassment and discrimination complaints in Louisiana.
"I walked in confident, and I left out a whole other way," Mack said of her time with the company. "I left out broken."The official reasons given by the company for firing Mack were "excessive sick days and poor work ethic." While those are arguably justifiable grounds for firing their employee, it must also be acknowledged how peculiar it is that she was fired following her call out of racial bias.
It must also be noted that Mack wasn't the only one to notice the issue. Former fitness manager Angelle Torres, who is white, also said that she heard the use of racial slurs about African-Americans who came into the gym."It was sickening to have to sit there and bear witness to it," Torres said. "But I had to feed my family. I didn't have a choice. I was scared to speak up and say anything about it. Because I didn't want to lose my job.”
Mack plans to sue the company. The commission sent a letter to Mack in July reportedly saying that the company violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which protects people from discrimination in the workplace, "because (Mack) was taken off the schedule due to her natural hair."
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