Weight room TheGrio
Weight room (Credit: Jon Ferrey /Allsport)

A national fitness chain is reopening an investigation by a former African-American worker in Louisiana who claimed two supervisors made racist comments about her and others.

LA Fitness spokeswoman Jill Greuling told the New Orleans Advocate on Wednesday that media coverage of comments made former employee Aireial Mack are “shocking” to the company. The two supervisors, who are white, have been removed from their positions at the Slidell, La., gym.

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“I assure you [that] if these accusations are confirmed, they will be terminated,” Greuling told the newspaper via email.

The gym’s general manager, Mark Mayeux confirmed Thursday that he and Blake Mata, the gym’s assistant GM, have been removed from their posts while the investigation proceeds.

Mack accuses both men of using racial slurs during the five months she worked at the gym before she was fired in January. Mack filed a discrimination complaint with the Louisiana Commission of Human Rights in March stemming from a text message she received from Mata that said she was taken off the work schedule because of her hair.

“We took you off the schedule because your (hair) doesn’t meet LA FITNESS STANDARDS in a fro. We want a classy appearance. We don’t want to leak off a n***er style don’t take it wrong, just change it,” Mack alleges Mata wrote.

Mack said she was fired days after complaining to Mayeux. In July, Mack received a letter from the state human rights commission saying the company had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which protects people from discrimination in the workplace. The commission attempted to negotiate an agreement with the company to no avail, officials said.

LA Fitness spokeswoman Greuling said company officials were never provided with evidence of discrimination during the negotiation process with the human rights commission and that Mack was officially let go for poor performance.

Mack’s attorney said his client will sue the company.

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