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California NRI awarded $24,000 for discrimination case against US fitness centre


Fresno, California, April 26, 2007
Darshan Dhaliwal

On Wednesday, a federal judge has ordered Bally Total Fitness to pay $24,000 to NRI Sukdev "Devin" Singh Dhaliwal, a sikh man who sued when the company denied him a job. Actually he was asked: "where he was born, where his parents were born, what religion he subscribed to and whether he was a Muslim," said EEOC program analyst Linda Li. "He's very American."

Dhaliwal was born and raised in California. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported that its suit charged that Sukdev "Devin" Singh Dhaliwal was discriminated against based on his Sikh religion and Indian national heritage when he applied for a sales job at Bally Total Fitness in Fresno in 2004.

Under the consent decree approved Thursday by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White, Bally must pay Dhaliwal $24,000 in damages and provide training in equal opportunity hiring practices to managers at its Fresno locations.

According to the local paper's report: Dhaliwal said he plans to donate some of the money to his alma mater, California State University, Fresno, where a business law professor urged him to lodge a complaint

Bally Total Fitness is the largest and only nationwide commercial operator of fitness centers with over 400 club locations in the USA, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, S. Korea and China.


NRI sue Fresno Bally Total Fitness for discriminate hiring practices


Fresno, May 03, 2006
Ashok Aggarwal

NRI Sukdev "Devin" Singh Dhaliwal, applied for a sales position at the Bally Total Fitness center where he was a member in 2004. During the interview, he was asked a number of questions pertaining to his Indian origin and Sikh religion, which is a violation of federal employment laws, said Joan Ehrlich, director for the EEOC’s San Francisco district.

“After you are offered the job it is okay to ask those questions such as whether there are certain days you can’t work,” Ms. Ehrlich said. “In this instance, it was blatant discrimination.”

She added that Mr. Dhaliwal’s qualifications made him equal to or greater than other employees who worked at the Fresno, Calif. location.

The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages up to $300,000, a change in Bally Total Fitness’ hiring practices and staff education on proper hiring practices, Ms. Ehrlich said.