Daniel McKenna, a former strength instructor at Peloton, alleges that Peloton wrongfully terminated him, and accused the company of discrimination, retaliation, and harassment
Peloton instructor Daniel McKenna filed a lawsuit against the exercise equipment and media company in the New York State’s Supreme Court in the County of New York on Wednesday, also suing Peloton’s Chief Content Officer, Jennifer Cotter. The lawsuit alleges that McKenna was wrongfully terminated by Peloton, and claims that he was “subject to a hostile work environment” that violates the New York City Human Rights Law.
McKenna worked at Peloton from December 2020 until he was fired on September 12th, 2022. After undergoing surgery in October 2021, McKenna alleges that he was concerned that getting the COVID-19 vaccine would interfere with his health. However, he got the vaccine out of fear that he would lose his job. This past spring, McKenna suffered an injury while training, and had surgery in April. He went back to work in July, although his doctor advised a six-month recovery period. In the ensuing months, McKenna claimed that Cotter told him that he could have lost his job for going on short-term disability leave after the surgery.
McKenna also claims that Cotter directed discriminatory statements towards him at meetings. In the lawsuit, the Peloton instructor alleges that she once said that nobody could understand him due to his Irish accent. She also allegedly said that she hoped he was not drunk during a meeting. After confronting her about these statements, Cotter allegedly said that she was “mostly joking,” per the lawsuit.
Upon his firing, Peloton offered McKenna a six-month severance package for $130,000. McKenna refused to accept it, because he claimed, in the lawsuit, that the termination was not for cause. McKenna claims that he never received any written warnings leading up to being fired, and thus the firing does not align with Peloton’s Employment Agreement.
McKenna is suing for $500,000 for back pay and front pay, benefits, and pre- and post-judgment interest. He is also requesting $300,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.