Tarainia McDaniel (pictured), recently filed a lawsuit against a Planet Fitness in New Mexico over an incident that occurred in October 2011, claiming that the gym wouldn’t allow her to wear her religious head covering when she tried to work out, reports Albuquerque Journal.
According to the 37-year-old Albuquerque resident, she signed a two-year contract with the New Hampshire-based business at one location where she was never given a problem about wearing her Muslim head covering. When McDaniel transferred her membership to another Planet Fitness location, though, she was allegedly told that her religious head covering was not allowed because it was against the gym’s dress code, according to the lawsuit.
However, the gym in question did display a sign that read, “No jeans, work boots, bandannas, skull caps, or revealing apparel.”
McDaniel alleges in her complaint that she asked the gym’s representatives if she could wear her head covering to accommodate her faith and even asked if she could instead wear a hijab, a more formal piece that covers the head and chest.
McDaniel claims that her requests were flatly denied and told that the head coverings were direct violations of the strict gym dress codes.
Planet Fitness’ attorney, Erika Anderson ,defends her client’s position regarding the case, telling Albuquerque Journal, “My client’s position is that they didn’t know the head covering was for religious purposes. It violated their dress code policy.”
But the New Mexico Human Rights Act and the Unfair Practices Act states that Planet Fitness had no legal right to deny McDaniel entry on to its facility while wearing her religious head covering.
According to McDaniel’s civil suit transcript, the married Mom, who is a financial consultant and business owner, claims that she did see the gym’s dress code sign but states in the legal document, “I already (had) made it known before I signed the contract that I covered my hair. I had on [what] I call a head covering. I guess for the sake of the record, they’re referring to it as a head covering.”
McDaniel’s case is scheduled for August.
Meanwhile, Planet Fitness who advertises a “Judgement Free Zone” appears to be a very judgmental gym after all. The gym’s policies have come into question as in the case of Tiffany Austin, who was reportedly told by a Richmond, Calif., facility that her body, which was in a midriff-clad outfit, was just too toned; therefore, she was thereby too “intimidating” to the gym’s other patrons.
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