Fitness Training Company Fires Employee for Complaining about Harassment

October 4, 2010 ( – Raleigh, North Carolina-based BF-Southeast, LLC, doing business as Professional Fitness, violated federal law by discharging a female employee because she complained about sexual harassment, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

In a suit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, the agency explains that Quiannta Mauney, a personal trainer employed by Professional Fitness, was subjected to sexual comments and stares from her direct supervisor at a health club in Greenville, South Carolina.   Mauney felt she was being sexually harassed, so she submitted an online complaint regarding the harassment to Professional Fitness.    

The supervisor resigned, but the company transferred one of Mauney’s clients to another trainer.  The EEOC says when Mauney called her area manager to inquire about the client transfers, the area manager terminated Mauney in a profanity-laced conversation because of her complaints about sexual harassment.  The manager told Mauney that she had “ruined [her former supervisor’s] life” by reporting him for sexual harassment, and then told her to leave the heath club.  

The lawsuit seeks back pay and reinstatement, along with past and future pecuniary losses, past and future non-pecuniary expenses, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief.   

“Employees should be confident that they can make their employers aware of violations of federal anti-discrimination laws without fear of reprisal,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, in a news release.  “The anti-retaliation provisions of Title VII are indispensable to the attainment of a workplace free of discrimination.”   

Professional Fitness provides fitness training to customers through relationships with various health clubs throughout the country.  It holds itself out as the largest privately owned personal training company in the country.   

The suit is EEOC v. BF-Southeast, LLC d/b/a Professional Fitness, Civil Action No. 6:10-cv-02538.