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Brooklyn, NY - Orthodox Jewish Woman Files Discrimination Suit Against Gym That Threatened Her With Arrest Over Modest Attire

Published on: October 2, 2015 10:59 AM
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Brooklyn, NY - A 25 year-old Orthodox Jewish woman from Crown Heights has filed a religious discrimination lawsuit in Manhattan federal court claiming she was threatened with arrest and had her membership revoked by a local gym for observing her religious dictates and dressing modestly while working out.

NYPOST.com (http://bit.ly/1JJgu2B) reports that Yosefa Jalal, who, according to court papers, “observes the Jewish rules of modesty,” claims she joined the women-only fitness chain Lucille Roberts in 2011 and started working out wearing modest clothing—-including skirts, tights and long sleeves—-at several of the chain’s Brooklyn locations without incident.

However, at the gym’s Kings Highway location in 2013, and once again the following year, Yosefa was told she could no longer wear a skirt if she wanted to continue to use the facilities.

After switching to Lucille Roberts’ Flatbush Avenue location, Jalal was subsequently confronted by a manager who threatened her with arrest on trespassing charges for “inappropriate attire” due to her skirt.

Shortly thereafter Jalal was informed that her membership had been revoked.

Jalal’s lawyer called the gym’s actions “completely indefensible.”

An attorney for Lucille Roberts declined comment.


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Read Comments (35)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Oct 02, 2015 at 11:29 AM Anonymous Says:

While the gym is totally wrong and discriminatory and will hopefully be made to pay a large sum for their actions, what is the problem halachically with a woman wearing gym clothes in front of other women????

2

 Oct 02, 2015 at 11:43 AM Nycnyc Says:

Sue their pants off.

3

 Oct 02, 2015 at 12:02 PM Proud_To_Be_American Says:

The Gym is SKIRTing the law.

4

 Oct 02, 2015 at 12:10 PM mythoughts Says:

I'm not sure what tznius has to do with her modest dress at an all women's gym. That's not halacha.

5

 Oct 02, 2015 at 12:24 PM 54321 Says:

Kol hakovod. She is an example to girls of today who unfortunately are becoming more and more lax in modest dress, a foundation preserving Jewish purit and safeguarding against assimilation.

6

 Oct 02, 2015 at 12:25 PM PowerUp Says:

There is always more to those stories.

7

 Oct 02, 2015 at 12:38 PM Anonymous Says:

Probably their defense will be that her long skirt is hazard and can get caught in the treadmill and other equipment. May she be MATZLIACH in her lawsuit!

8

 Oct 02, 2015 at 12:45 PM md2205 Says:

I have worn whatever I wanted, including skirts, and seen other women working out only in skirts in the Lucille Roberts on Fulton Street in Brooklyn. I was always treated respectfully there. I also went to the Flatbush Avenue site and wore whatever I wanted and they never said anything to me. I was always treated well. I guess it is only that particular Kings Highway site that is troublesome. I never went there. I think Lucille Roberts is a franchise and each site has its own owner or manager.

9

 Oct 02, 2015 at 12:55 PM Anonymous Says:

Anyone who goes to that gym knows that the reason they don't allow skirts is for safety concerns. If it gets caught in machines or someone trips during a class the gym is liable for damages. I have been going to both those locations for more years than I can remember and have always been treated with respect . We need to start following rules and stop antagonizing the locals!!!!!

10

 Oct 02, 2015 at 12:56 PM anon1m0us Says:

Bogus lawsuit.

The gym is ONLY for women so her modest clothing is not required.

In addition, loose clothing provides a risk.

11

 Oct 02, 2015 at 01:19 PM Shimon Says:

The charges will be reduced. They should be put in prison...or rather cellutiles.

12

 Oct 02, 2015 at 01:35 PM Anonymous Says:

I go to both these gyms and have always been treated with respect. They have policies and rules just like anyplace else. If someone trips or their skirt gets caught in machines the gym is liable for damages. Either follow their rules or go excersiZe somewhere else at your own risk!

13

 Oct 02, 2015 at 01:54 PM Benjey Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

While the gym is totally wrong and discriminatory and will hopefully be made to pay a large sum for their actions, what is the problem halachically with a woman wearing gym clothes in front of other women????

Just because Hallacha allowed doe not mean it should be done.

14

 Oct 02, 2015 at 01:54 PM hershel Says:

Sexual discrimination as well.

15

 Oct 02, 2015 at 02:14 PM OPElly Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

While the gym is totally wrong and discriminatory and will hopefully be made to pay a large sum for their actions, what is the problem halachically with a woman wearing gym clothes in front of other women????

I agree. The gym bears a burden of proof that Ms Jalal's clothing is dangerous (for example, a skirt could get caught in motorized equipment).

But I think she's making a halachic problem where none exists.

I'd lilke more information. Did she fly off the handle until they had no choice but to threaten arrest? Then shame on her. Or did she keep her composure and quietly assert her rights? Then shame on them.

16

 Oct 02, 2015 at 02:28 PM Anonymous Says:

I understand not permitting a longer skirt. Exercise equipment can be extremely dangerous and you definitely do not want to wear loose clothing that can be caught in the equipment. That being said, there is exercise clothing that is skirt-like that would probably be safe and acceptable, such as capris with attached skirts, tennis skirts, running skirts, etc. These "skirts" would not be modest by themselves in public as they are quite short. However, in the context of a women-only gym and worn with leggings, they should be fine (I am assuming that she wants to wear a skirt not so much for modesty but because her personal practice is to never wear only pants ).

17

 Oct 02, 2015 at 02:43 PM Yossi Says:

If she needs to wear a skirt according to her religion why does she go to a gym which is mixed?
I am a member in yeled vyalda gym and the rule calls foe sneakers only on the thread mill or other machines.
Maybe this gym has a policy against skirts due to safety?
Lets not jump to conclusion before we hear from the corporate office.
Dont count your $$ yet

18

 Oct 02, 2015 at 03:30 PM shvigger Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

Probably their defense will be that her long skirt is hazard and can get caught in the treadmill and other equipment. May she be MATZLIACH in her lawsuit!

But why threaten her with arrest?

19

 Oct 02, 2015 at 03:34 PM Anonymous Says:

If her long skirt got caught in the machine, it could strangle her. The directions even state not to wear long scarves or anything that can get caught. The gym is 100% correct. This has nothing to do with being antisemitic. Duh

20

 Oct 02, 2015 at 03:52 PM circle Says:

Just register with a Moslem name and you'll be left alone.

21

 Oct 02, 2015 at 03:57 PM savtat Says:

The gym in my Y, which is shomer Shabbos, asked me to leave when I was on a bike with my long skirt. I didn't realize that they required pants only. I left without making a fuss. It is a safety rule, I can comply, or work out somewhere else.

It is not discrimination if there is a reason for the rule, especially a safety rule.

22

 Oct 02, 2015 at 04:39 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
md2205 Says:

I have worn whatever I wanted, including skirts, and seen other women working out only in skirts in the Lucille Roberts on Fulton Street in Brooklyn. I was always treated respectfully there. I also went to the Flatbush Avenue site and wore whatever I wanted and they never said anything to me. I was always treated well. I guess it is only that particular Kings Highway site that is troublesome. I never went there. I think Lucille Roberts is a franchise and each site has its own owner or manager.

Didn't u read the article? She had the same problem at the Flatbush ave location.

23

 Oct 02, 2015 at 04:40 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
Benjey Says:

Just because Hallacha allowed doe not mean it should be done.

Huh?

24

 Oct 02, 2015 at 04:42 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
Yossi Says:

If she needs to wear a skirt according to her religion why does she go to a gym which is mixed?
I am a member in yeled vyalda gym and the rule calls foe sneakers only on the thread mill or other machines.
Maybe this gym has a policy against skirts due to safety?
Lets not jump to conclusion before we hear from the corporate office.
Dont count your $$ yet

Another one who doesn't read the article b4 commenting. Lucille Roberts is an all-female gym, not coed!

25

 Oct 02, 2015 at 05:13 PM Similar Says:

A few years ago I went to several Bally's locations in Brooklyn. I am not that much of an athlete and wanted to focus on some small area, not working up a sweat. I did not change into what was considered apropriate gear. At one location I was told that next time I need to be changed. At a location on Flatbush Avenue in an African-American neighborhood I was berated by fellow clients. I asked the manager for help and he sided with them and asked me to leave. I later verified that the only rules that apply pertain to using rubber soled shoes, anything else was racism.

26

 Oct 02, 2015 at 05:25 PM Anonymous Says:

First of all, it is *not* a mixed gym (read the article). Second, the last time I looked, skirts don't go around the neck, so I don't understand how one could get strangled if the skirt caught in a machine. The thing that doesn't make sense is the trespassing threat. Most chain gyms have agreements with others in the same chain to allow all members use of their facilities. I think more information is needed.

27

 Oct 02, 2015 at 06:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #15  
OPElly Says:

I agree. The gym bears a burden of proof that Ms Jalal's clothing is dangerous (for example, a skirt could get caught in motorized equipment).

But I think she's making a halachic problem where none exists.

I'd lilke more information. Did she fly off the handle until they had no choice but to threaten arrest? Then shame on her. Or did she keep her composure and quietly assert her rights? Then shame on them.

I wouldn't be surprised if she started a commotion and they told her to stop or they will call the police.

28

 Oct 03, 2015 at 02:32 PM Jewish_1st Says:

Reply to #2  
Nycnyc Says:

Sue their pants off.

We are trying to keep things ON remember !!! LOL

29

 Oct 03, 2015 at 08:33 PM njmom Says:

She didn't wear a long skirt. It was until her knees. Do they have a policy against wearing loose/ baggy basketball shorts also? Can't that also get stuck in equipment? It's the same length. I think this was discrimination. If they're so worried about skirts and gym equipment they can force you to sign waivers for wearing a skirt, just like you sign your life away skiing or boating.

30

 Oct 03, 2015 at 09:08 PM mewhoze Says:

perhaps they can nicely explain that skirts longer than knee length are dangerous and could get caught in the machinery. id rather see someone covering up a bit more than letting it all hang out

31

 Oct 03, 2015 at 09:26 PM OYVY2 Says:

stop jumping the anti semite float. it is dangerous to wear the long skirts that brush the floor and can get caught in machines. if that would happen everyone would say, they should have a rule that you can't wear clothing that can be hazardous

32

 Oct 03, 2015 at 10:41 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Proud_To_Be_American Says:

The Gym is SKIRTing the law.

what are you, five years old?

33

 Oct 03, 2015 at 10:43 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #11  
Shimon Says:

The charges will be reduced. They should be put in prison...or rather cellutiles.

first, learn to spell, then stop making childish, unfunny jokes.

34

 Oct 03, 2015 at 10:44 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

While the gym is totally wrong and discriminatory and will hopefully be made to pay a large sum for their actions, what is the problem halachically with a woman wearing gym clothes in front of other women????

I'm sorry, but even if the gym was wrong, why should they pay "a large sum for their actions"?

how was this woman damaged? is it your belief that any time a frum person is offended by something, they deserve to become rich from it?

35

 Oct 03, 2015 at 10:46 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #15  
OPElly Says:

I agree. The gym bears a burden of proof that Ms Jalal's clothing is dangerous (for example, a skirt could get caught in motorized equipment).

But I think she's making a halachic problem where none exists.

I'd lilke more information. Did she fly off the handle until they had no choice but to threaten arrest? Then shame on her. Or did she keep her composure and quietly assert her rights? Then shame on them.

excuse me, ignoramus, why would the gym have the burden of proof? it is the plaintiff's burden of proof in any lawsuit, and even if she wins, what damages can she show? or do you think winning a lawsuit is like winning the lottery?

36

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