Lawsuit: Fitness trainer says gym supervisors used ‘N-word,’ talked about getting confederate flags

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U.S. District Court/File photo

CONCORD, NH  — A former Gold’s Gym trainer in Manchester has filed a federal lawsuit accusing his supervisors of using the  “N“ word in a conversation with him concerning their desire to get confederate flags.

Gary Murphy, an African-American, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court accusing Gold’s Gym, FITLAB Fitness Club, the successor owner, On Target Management Inc., which owns or owned the six gyms in New Hampshire, and Dow Fitness Inc. of racial discrimination and retaliating against him.

Attempts to reach someone at Gold’s Gym were unsuccessful, with no one available Wednesday from Gold’s Gym/FITL AB to comment.

Murphy filed a complaint with the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which found probable cause he had been discriminated against and issued a right to sue letter which was received on May 20, 2019.

Murphy was hired in February 2015 as a personal trainer at the Manchester gym.

He said that on April 1, 2015, his supervisors used the “N“ word in a conversation with him about their desire to get confederate flags.

Murphy filed a complaint with the manager of personal trainers and after, he was retaliated against by being assigned fewer clients than the caucasian trainers.

His employer, he said, did not investigate his complaint.

On June 17, 2015, management told him a female client had allegedly complained he had sent her improper text messages.  However, his employer didn’t ask for the texts and  Murphy’s request for the texts was denied.

“The complaint was false,” Murphy says in the lawsuit.  “The alleged reliance on the complaint was a pretext to retaliate against Murphy.”

As a result of that alleged complaint, the next day Murphy was transferred to the Merrimack gym and demoted to a floor trainer.

On June 19, 2015, he complained to the CEO of the Gold Gym franchises in New Hampshire about being falsely accused.   He was fired that same day.

The reason cited for his termination was “overstepping direct supervisor after being reprimanded.”

Murphy is asking to be reinstated with retroactive seniority; be awarded past and future lost wages, including fringe benefits; compensatory and enhanced compensatory damages, punitive damages and reimbursement of reasonable attorney’s fees.