The Los Angeles-based Mexican American Legal Defense Fund this week filed a class-action discrimination suit against 24 Hour Fitness gyms, alleging that some qualified minorities and women who worked at the chain were passed over for promotions in favor of whites.

Lead plaintiff Raoul Fulcher Jr. claimed he was not promoted because he's African-American: “I am a competitor and I strive to be my best, but at 24 Hour Fitness that is not recognized,” he said in a statement.

The suit against the Bay Area-based gym company was filed in Alameda County. MALDEF encouraged others who have worked at 24 Hour Fitness and who felt they might have been the victims of discrimination there to join the suit.

The privately held company runs 400 gyms in the United States, according to MALDEF. The main bone of contention in the suit is an alleged lack of minorities promoted to management positions.

Bill Lann Lee, an outside attorney hired to help with the case, said: “24 Hour Fitness promises customers a family fitness environment. But, 24 Hour Fitness does not treat its minority and women employees as part of the family. Qualified, experienced minorities and women work lower level jobs, but don't get a chance at management jobs. Breaking the promise of equal opportunity is against the law.”

LA Weekly