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Judge Makes Shocking Ruling In Case Of Woman Who Wanted To Work Out In A Skirt

One woman is suing her gym for its staff's response to her chosen workout clothing.

Lucille Roberts gym in Brooklyn is under fire after an Orthodox Jewish woman, Yosefa Jalal Wood-Isenberg, was banned for wearing a traditional Jewish skirt whilst working out. The school teacher, who has since relocated to Philadelphia, was supposedly harassed, screamed at and banned from two Lucille Roberts gyms – one on Kings Highway and the other on Flatbush Avenue – by two employees who deemed her attire inappropriate.

Yosefa Jalal Wood-Isenberg was visiting her local Lucille Roberts gym when she was confronted by employees for wearing a traditional Jewish knee-length skirt. Two employees, one from each gym, supposedly yelled at Ms. Wood-Isenberg, threatening to have her arrested before revoking her membership.

Now, Ms. Wood-Isenberg has decided to sue the company, claiming in court documents that she “think[s] its wrong what they did to me. I should be able to work out in a skirt.” Ms. Wood-Isenberg’s federal suit explicitly accuses the Lucille Roberts fitness company of religious discrimination, with Ms. Wood-Isenberg demanding a reinstatement of her membership and an unspecified sum for damages. Ms. Wood-Isenberg has also asked that the company be prohibited “from discriminating on the basis of religion, and in particular, discriminating against Observant-Jewish women.”

“Just because I’m an observant Jew, doesn’t mean that I should be treated like a criminal and shouldn’t be allowed to work out. It’s just not fair,” Ms. Wood-Isenberg stated, describing the constant harassment she faced at the franchise while working out. When Ms. Wood-Isenberg joined the women-only gym in 2011, she wore her skirt over tights while attending kickboxing and Zumba classes and also while using the elliptical machine. It wasn’t until 2013 that she was told that she wasn’t “wearing appropriate attire,” and was accused of “trespassing,” on the property.

While Ms. Wood-Isenberg left the gym to avoid further issues, she returned around a month later to attend a boxing class. Ms. Wood-Isenberg stated in court documents that a staff member of the gym demanded that the instructor stop “the music and… the class until Ms. Wood-Isenberg removed her skirt. Rather than taking her skirt off, Ms. Wood-Isenberg switched to the elliptical machine when she was told that her membership had been revoked and that “the police were on their way.”

Ms. Wood-Isenberg’s lawyer, Ilann Maazel of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, has labeled the gym’s decision “completely indefensible,” pointing out that “We don’t have different health clubs for Christians, for Muslims, for Hindus and for Jews. Health clubs in New York City should be for everybody, whether you wear a cross, a Star of David or a skirt.”

The lawyer representing Lucille Roberts has refused to comment; however, the health-club chain has confirmed that they will no longer be turning away women who wish to wear a skirt in the gym. Ms. Wood-Isenberg has expressed her relief at the results of the suit, stating that she is “excited to go back and work out there. It’s not the same working out in your own home with all the distractions.” Ms. Wood-Isenberg has been relying on online work out videos ever since the ordeal.

Source: New York Post
Photo: Matthew McDermott, YouTube

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