Houston-area gym faces more allegations of discrimination

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by Alex Sanz / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on August 18, 2011 at 7:43 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 19 at 10:47 AM

SPRING, Texas -- More allegations of discrimination have been made against the same all-women's gym where a Houston-area mother claimed she was asked to leave a children's area after breastfeeding her son.

Sobia Yousufi claimed Pure Fitness for Women had repeatedly asked Muslim women to leave the gym's swimming pool because fibers from anything other than swimsuits would clog the pool's equipment.
   
"Islamically, we are required to cover from head to toe," Yousufi said. "I'd wear my regular swimming outfit underneath my spandex pants and my shirt. [A gym employee] told us, you know, she has to wear one piece. If they'd seen anybody in a shirt they took them out and specifically told them you can't come [in] unless you're wearing the whole swimming outfit."
 
The allegations came days after Penny Montgomery-Schlanser, of Tomball, claimed Pure Fitness asked her to leave for breastfeeding her son -- something the gym denied.

"Federal law prohibits discrimination against people based on their religion," said KHOU 11 News Legal Analyst Gerald Treece. "If you have a uniform dress code, that's fine, but you also have to make exceptions based on certain people's religious faith."
 
"There's a lot of prejudice and discrimination but it's actually hard to believe it until you actually have to face it," Yousufi said. "We're all women. I thought this [gym] was more welcoming to women."
 
Pure Fitness for Women told KHOU 11 News that it never had and never would discriminate against a person because of race or religion.

A gym owner said the dress code was put in place to prevent the pool's equipment from breaking down.
 

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