Retro Fitness employee files retaliatory discharge, harassment claim

Jon Campisi Oct. 19, 2011, 9:51am

A Philadelphia woman who alleges she experienced a barrage of sexual harassment at the gym she formerly worked at is suing the business for wrongful termination, claiming she was fired in retaliation for reporting the lewd behavior of one employee to police.

Philadelphia attorney Leonard K. Hill, of the firm Hill & Associates, filed the federal complaint Oct. 16 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Northeast Philadelphia resident Victoria Graudins.

The defendants named in the lawsuit are Retro Fitness, LLC, and Philadelphians Daniel Kraft, Daniel Carr, Paul Carr and Jim Kenagie.

The lawsuit claims that Graudins, who was hired in May 2010 to work in the gym’s childcare and protein shake/juice departments, started experiencing daily incidents of sexual harassment from about the time she began working at the facility, located at 2524 Welsh Road in Northeast Philadelphia.

“The sexual harassment Plaintiff endured at the Facility was pervasive and occurred on a daily basis,” the suit claims. “Specifically, Plaintiff was subjected to sexual innuendos and propositions, sexually explicit discussions, pornographic images, nudity, and unwelcoming touching, grabbing and kissing. The sexual harassment Plaintiff endured affected her working environment and made it hostile, uncomfortable and extremely stressful.”

The lawsuit claims that management knew about the ongoing harassment, but failed to intervene. Defendant Daniel Carr, the manager of the facility, once allegedly told Graudins that there was “no such thing as sexual harassment in a gym.”

In June 2010, the suit claims, Graudins was asked by defendant Paul Carr, the brother of Daniel Carr, to help him bring drinks from the storage room to the front of the gym.

When Graudins was alone with Paul Carr, the defendant removed his pants and began to harass the plaintiff in the storage room, the suit claims, despite the fact that Graudins rejected his advances.

The harassment in this incident included physical contact initiated by Carr, but did not include sexual intercourse, the suit states.

Graudins was eventually able to flee the room, at which time she notified her boyfriend and police of the incident. She pressed charges against Paul Carr, who, following a bench trial this January, was convicted of unlawful restraint, indecent assault, indecent exposure, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and false imprisonment. Paul Carr was sentenced to four years probation.

Back in October 2010, Graudins was “unlawfully terminated” by the gym for what she claims was retaliation for pressing criminal charges against Paul Carr.

The lawsuit contains counts of sexual discrimination and harassment, retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligent supervision and assault and battery.

Graudins demands punitive damages, damages for emotional pain and suffering, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life and other compensatory damages, interest and attorney’s fees.

Graudins also seeks a court injunction barring the defendants from ever again harassing, discriminating against or retaliating against employees.

A jury trial is being demanded.

The federal case number is 2:11-cv-06466-GP.

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