ORLANDO, Fla. - A Planet Fitness employee is suing the gym's franchise owners after claims that she was racially discriminated against. The company has denied the claims.
Her attorneys claim T’unica Mitchell was passed up for management positions at several different Planet Fitness locations across the area in the five years she has been with the company. Most recently, she had applied for a general management position at a location in Leesburg.
Attorney Ben Crump spoke about the case in front of Orlando’s federal courthouse Monday after he filed a lawsuit against the company claiming she was racially discriminated against.
According to the criminal complaint, she was told "now is not a good time for you, wait your turn" and "you would be a better assistant general manager down south."
"They said we are afraid to make you a general manager because you’ll hire people like you," said Deron Roberson, with Roberson & Roberson P.A.
The Planet Fitness franchise owner, Sunshine Fitness Management, has denied the claims. They say that 25% of its general managers identify as Black and 50% of its general managers identify as minorities.
A representative with the company said in a statement:
"At Sunshine Fitness Management, we have zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind, ever. It is our mission to enhance people's lives by providing a high-quality fitness experience in a welcoming, inclusive, non-intimidating environment and that includes for our members and employees."
Mitchell says she’s filing the lawsuit because she wants to see change.
"Going forward, we hope there is a difference made for everyone, all young Black women as well," Mitchell said. "I am standing here today in hopes that my daughter will not have to go through or tolerate what I’ve gone through."
Watch FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.