Posted On: January 24, 2011 by Peter M. LaSorsa

Lesbian Fitness Instructors File Hostile Work Environment Lawsuit Against Gym Owner

Deborah Cooke and Christina Rodino both lesbian fitness instructors filed a lawsuit claiming discrimination based on sexual orientation and the creation of a hostile work environment against gym owner David Barton and his gym David Barton Gym. According to published accounts both women were fired after they put up with antigay comments and sexual harassment. Some of the details of the lawsuit include allegations that Cooke was called Lesbian Deb and asked by a male coworker whether she was going to strap on a penis tonight.

When the women complained about the discrimination the owner fired them which would constitute retaliation. There are facts in this case which indicate the gym had a large gay membership and this type of behavior is not only illegal if proven but also from a business standpoint stupid. This blog will keep track of the lawsuit and post updates when they happen. My guess is the case will settle prior to trial like most lawsuits do.

They both claim they were asked to “engage in sexual relations with another woman at the workplace."


David Barton Gyms have six locations including one in Chicago. If a person is the victim of discrimination while employed in Illinois they would first have to file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Filing with the IDHR will result in the complaint automatically being filed with the EEOC. It will be interesting to see if customers of the gym end up being witnesses.

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