Metro Weekly

Gay former Equinox gym manager sues over alleged sexual harassment

Employee claims he was retaliated against after reporting sexually inappropriate and discriminatory comments made by his supervisor.

equinox gym
Interior of Equinox gym on East 85th Street in Manhattan – Photo: Equinox, via Facebook.

A gay former Equinox gym manager claims he was fired after complaining to human resources about sexually-charged, inappropriate comments made by his male boss.

Harold De Longchamp, an ex-general manager who worked at the Equinox on East 85th Street in Manhattan from March 2018 to January 2020, claims in the lawsuit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, that he was fired in retaliation for complaining about mistreatment from Regional Manager Adam Gecht.

According to De Longchamp, Gecht told him in January 2019 that he could only get a free facial from work if he shaved his mustache because he looked “like a child molester.”

A few months later, at a Equinox-sponsored work function in Florida, when they were poolside in bathing suits, De Longchamp claims he was embarrassed after Gecht stage-whispered in his ear, “nice bulge,” a comment that was heard by other managers, as alleged in the lawsuit and first reported by The New York Post.

On that same trip, Gecht invited De Longchamp to breakfast, telling him he admired that De Longchamp was gay because he “wasn’t tied down and could be sexually promiscuous,” the lawsuit alleges.

Gecht also allegedly said that he regretted being married with kids because he couldn’t “act on his urges like [De Longchamp] could, being gay,” adding: “it’s too bad we didn’t have more time together during the Summit.”

De Longchamp claims that Gecht told him “the closer we are with each other, the farther you’ll get in the company.”

The alleged harassment was reported to the director of human resources for Equinox, who De Longchamp claims discouraged him from making a formal complaint against Gecht, saying, “That’s just Adam, no one takes him seriously.”

A month after the Florida incident, Gecht told De Longchamp “you have to be the gayest Equinox employee I know.” 

See also: Transgender male employee sues Sweetgreen for sexual harassment and discrimination

De Longchamp also claims he was berated by Gecht for not dealing with a broken air conditioner fast enough.

Another time, when Gecht changed De Longchamp’s shift with less than 24 hours notice, and De Lonchamp explained that he had a morning meeting with a community organization for which he was volunteering, Gecht angrily stated that “this better not have to do with [De Longchamp’s] boyfriend” and told him, “I don’t fucking care about your personal life!”

De Longchamp verbally complained to Equinox’s human resources regional manager for the gym about the sexual harassment and unfair treatment he received, only to be issued a written warning, signed by Gecht and the regional manager, for being late to work on the day his shift was changed at the last-minute. De Longchamp later filed a formal complaint with human resources, but claims no action was taken, while Gecht was eventually promoted in December 2019.

Gym interior – Photo: Jelmer Assink.

After Gecht was promoted, De Longchamp’s new supervisor informed him he was friends with Gecht and knew about De Lonchamp’s prior complaints. That supervisor demanded that De Longchamp be more open in communicating with him, chastised him for going to human resources, and asked, “Are we going to have any problems?”

About two months later, De Longchamp was fired, with his bosses telling him “it was time to separate from the company. We don’t seem to see eye to eye on things any longer,” according to the complaint.

De Longchamp is suing Gecht and Equinox for unspecified damages, plus lawyer’s fees, alleging that he was discriminated against because of his sexual orientation and was retaliated against after he complained about the sexual harassment to which he had been subjected while working at the Upper East Side gym. He has requested a jury trial.

When asked for comment, a spokeswoman for Equinox’s legal department told the Post: “We do not comment on pending litigations.”

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