United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION & ORDER
P. Griesa United States District Judge.
Yosefa Jalal brings this action against defendant Lucille
Roberts Health Clubs Inc., alleging discrimination in a place
of public accommodation in violation of Title II of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000a; New York State
Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. Law § 296(2)(a); and New
York City Human Rights Law, N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-107.
Defendant moves to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated
below, defendant's motion to dismiss is
following allegations, which are accepted as true for
purposes of this motion to dismiss, are taken from
is a Jewish woman who, in public, wears a knee-length, fitted
skirt. Compl. ¶¶ 2, 14-15. Defendant is a
corporation that operates a chain of gyms under the name
“Lucille Roberts.” Id. ¶ 18.
Membership at defendant's gyms is only available to
women. Id. ¶ 34. Defendant requires its members
to abide by various rules and regulations, including the
following dress code:
Dress appropriately. Flannel may be making a
comeback this fall but it is still inappropriate gym attire.
That also goes for denim and street clothes. This may be a
ladies gym but you should still look your best. Studies show
you workout longer, faster and harder when you have on a nice
outfit. Studies also show you're 75% more likely to run
into your ex on a day when you wear embarrassing sweatpants
and a stained t-shirt.
Wear the right shoes. You must wear sneakers (the regular
ones, not these new high-heeled kind) unless your class calls
for dance shoes, socks or bare feet. That means no flip
flops, sandals, boots, stilettos, flats or slippers. You
laugh, but we've seen them all. Your chance of being
fashionable is 100%. So is your chance of injury.
Id. Ex. A. The dress code does not specifically
prohibit skirts. Id. ¶ 31.
became a Lucille Roberts member in November 2011.
Id. ¶ 33. Each time plaintiff went to a Lucille
Roberts gym, she wore “a knee-length, fitted but
comfortable skirt” while exercising. Id.
¶ 35. The skirt neither interfered with gym equipment
nor posed a danger in classes offered by defendant.
Id. ¶¶ 36, 38. Plaintiff went to Lucille
Roberts gyms in Bay Shore, New York and Brooklyn, New York
without incident for approximately two years. Id.
October 3, 2013, plaintiff went to the Lucille Roberts
location on Kings Highway in Brooklyn, New York. Id.
¶ 44. As was her usual practice, plaintiff wore a skirt
to the gym. Id. Plaintiff was exercising on an
elliptical when a manager approached and began shouting at
her. Id. The manager told plaintiff that she could
not exercise in a skirt. Id. Plaintiff went to the
front desk, where she was again told she could not wear a
skirt. Id. Plaintiff then left the premises.
this encounter, plaintiff continued to exercise in a skirt at
various Lucille Roberts locations, including the one on Kings
Highway, over the next year. Id. ¶ 45-47.
During that year, plaintiff used gym equipment-such as the
elliptical-and participated in classes. Id. ¶
48. Her outfit did not interfere with the equipment or
classes, and Lucille Roberts staff members did not comment on
it. Id. ¶ 49.
October 6, 2014, plaintiff wore a skirt to the Lucille
Roberts location on Kings Highway. Id. ¶ 50.
Plaintiff was using an elliptical when a staff member
approached and told her she could not wear a skirt.
Id. Plaintiff told the staff member that she needed
to wear the skirt for religious reasons. Id. The
staff member told plaintiff to speak with a manager.
Id. ¶ 51.
met with the manager and repeated her explanation that she
must wear a skirt for religious reasons. Id. ¶
52. The manager told plaintiff that she could not exercise in
a skirt, but could instead wear a long t-shirt. Id.
Wearing a long t-shirt, though, would not comply with
plaintiff's religious beliefs. Id. ¶ 53.
Because the manager told ...