Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Suit Against Gym Alleges Religious Discrimination Against Muslim Athlete

A suit alleging religious discrimination in a place of public accommodation was brought in an Ohio federal district court yesterday against an LA Fitness facility in Cincinnati.  The complaint (full text) in Fall v. LA Fitness, (SD OH, filed 2/23/2015), filed by Mohamed Fall, a 28-year old former college basketball star and a practicing Muslim who regularly works out at LA Fitness, alleges that for over a year, after exercising, Fall "customarily retreats to an empty, obscure corner of the men's locker room, next to an empty coat rack, faces the wall and conducts Salat, or prayer, quietly to himself for approximately 5 to 10 minutes." On January 29, while in the middle of prayer, Fall, an immigrant from Senegal, was surrounded by three LA Fitness employees and told management had decided that he could no longer pray anywhere at the gym.  Fall claims he was singled out because he is a Muslim, saying that he has seen non-Muslims at the gym engage in religious prayer and related activities such as making the sign of the cross. WCPO News reports on the lawsuit.