Planet Fitness SHOULD let this Muslim woman wear her headbag in the gym

Only make sure she signs a waiver. That way when her headbag gets caught in a treadmill or other equipment and she gets strangled to death, we can all have a good laugh. Lots of moving parts. Lots of hazards to the wearers of inappropriate headgear.

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AbqJOURNAL (h/t Susan K)  A gym in Albuquerque refused to let a Muslim woman wear her religious head covering when she tried to work out, according to a new lawsuit against the company. The reason? The head covering she was wearing as part of her Muslim faith, didn’t meet the gym’s dress code.

McDaniel alleges in a lawsuit filed by her attorney, Rachel Higgins, that she explained the requirements of her religion but was told only that she could wear a baseball cap.

Planet Fitness attorney Erika Anderson said, “My client’s position is that they didn’t know the head covering was for religious purposes. It violated their dress code policy.” She said she could not comment further on pending litigation. 

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According to McDaniel’s lawsuit, when she joined Planet Fitness on a two-year contract she typically went to the Coors location. When the gym on Irving opened, she began going there because it was closer to her home.

On Oct. 3, 2011, she entered the gym as she had many times before and was turned away, the lawsuit says. She requested an accommodation based on her religious requirements and suggested that she could perhaps go home and come back with the hijab, the formal head covering, instead of what she was wearing, it says.

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McDaniel told employees she would have to cancel her membership and was informed she would have to do so at the Coors location and pay a cancellation fee, the lawsuit claims. At the Coors gym, an employee said the dress code was sometimes waived but that it couldn’t be in her case because the head covering was red, according to the complaint.

McDaniel’s civil lawsuit, filed under the New Mexico Human Rights Act and the Unfair Practices Act, alleges Planet Fitness illegally based the decision to deny her access upon her religion, or alternatively upon her race – she is African American – and that the gym had no legitimate or non-pretextual reason to deny her entry.

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Planet Fitness, in its formal answer to the claims, denies violations of either the Human Rights Act or Unfair Practices Act. It says McDaniel failed to participate in good faith and that the company has legitimate business reasons for its practice as well as measures to prevent discrimination. (Planet Fitness is stupid if they don’t use safety reasons as their defense)

McDaniel did not grow up practicing Islam. McDaniel’s parents were Roman Catholic and Jehovah’s Witness, and she converted at age 16 while attending Sidwell Friends School in the Washington, D.C. (Hmmm, Sidwell is where the Obama kids go. I wonder what the Muslim influence in that school is?)

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