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Former Planet Fitness Manager Sues Over Harassment

Andy Berg

A former manager at Planet Fitness headquarters in Hampton, N.H., is suing the company, claiming she was subjected to a male-dominated, “debaucherous” work environment, which led to sexual harassment and rape.

According to the Boston Globe, a lawsuit filed by Casey Willard alleges that senior management at Planet Fitness’ New Hampshire headquarters organized alcohol-fueled activities, such as “Fireball Friday.” Willard, who joined the company in 2015, claims that such events involved employees challenging one another to see who could drink more.

The lawsuit also asserts that some employees brought vodka-based gummy worms to work. At her manager’s direction, Willard would oftentimes find herself drunk by 11 a.m.

The culture at the Planet Fitness headquarters led to far worse than daytime drunkenness, according to Willard. She claims that she was drugged and raped by a colleague and his friends during a 2017 business trip to California.

Willard said she reported the rape to police in Portsmouth, N.H., upon her return, as well as to the company. Among a litany of detailed allegations against the company, Willard also said that her manager initiated a sexual relationship with her, which is in violation of the company’s anti-fraternization policy.

“The work environment at Planet Fitness’ corporate offices was, to say the least, debaucherous,” according to the lawsuit, adding that senior management consisted of men “whom openly made sexual comments, sexual innuendo, and engaged in pretend sexual contact toward female employees.”

Planet Fitness spokeswoman McCall Gosselin said in a statement Thursday that the company investigated Willard’s claims and fired an employee who was in violation of the company policy. Gosselin also acknowledged later learning of Willard’s consensual relationship with her supervisor. The supervisor was also terminated.

Willard voluntarily left the company in April, Gosselin said. The company disputes her other “baseless allegations.”

Willard is seeking a jury trial and is seeking unspecified damages arising from sexual harassment and a hostile work environment, discrimination and wrongful termination.

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