Orthodox Woman Says Gym Threatened To Arrest Her For Working Out In A Skirt

An Orthodox Jewish woman is suing the Lucille Roberts health-club chain for allegedly pitching a holy fit when she insisted on wearing a skirt during her workouts in Brooklyn.

Yosefa Jalal, of Crown Heights, claims in court papers to be filed Friday that she was repeatedly harassed, threatened with arrest and ultimately had her membership revoked for following religious dictates regarding female modesty.

“I think it’s wrong what they did to me. I should be able to work out in a skirt,” said Jalal, 25.

“Just because I’m an observant Jew doesn’t mean that I should be treated like a criminal and shouldn’t be allowed to work out. It’s just not fair.”

Jalal’s Manhattan federal suit accuses the women’s-only fitness company of religious discrimination in violation of federal, state and city statutes.

The suit seeks unspecified damages, along with a court order forcing Lucille Roberts to reinstate her membership and prohibiting it “from discriminating on the basis of religion, and in particular, discriminating against observant-Jewish women.”

Jalal “observes the Jewish rules of modesty” and in public always “wears skirts and tights to cover her legs, and shirts that cover her elbows and come to her neck.”

After joining the gym in 2011, Jalal wore a skirt while working out at various branches where she used an elliptical machine and took weight-lifting, kickboxing and Zumba classes, the suit says.

Her workout attire first became an issue at a Kings Highway location, where she was told in 2013 and again the next year that she couldn’t wear her skirt.

Instead, she started going to a Lucille Roberts on Flatbush Avenue regularly until June 26 of this year, when a manager accused her of “ ‘trespassing’ because she was not wearing appropriate attire,” the suit alleges.

Jalal left to avoid trouble and later went to the local police station house, where she says a cop told her that going to the gym in a skirt was not trespassing.

But when she returned on July 1 for a kickboxing class, a staffer interrupted the lesson and spoke to the instructor, who “stopped the music and told everyone they had to stop class until Ms. Jalal took off the skirt,” her suit says.

When the other women began screaming at her, she switched to an elliptical machine and was told that her membership had been revoked and warned that “the police are on their way.”

Jalal’s lawyer called it “completely indefensible.”

“We don’t have different health clubs for Christians, for Muslims, for Hindus and for Jews,” said Ilann Maazel, of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady. “Health clubs in New York City should be for everybody, whether you wear a cross, a Star of David or a skirt.”

A lawyer for Lucille Roberts declined to comment.

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