Röbynn Europe Honored as a Courageous Plaintiff

default author image11.08.2023
Röbynn Europe (left) at the 2023 NELA/NY Annual Gala. Pictured with Crumiller team members (top row from left to right) Ingrid Fernandez, Jacob Eidinger, Rebecca Lafond, Shayonna Valentin, Arastu Chaudhury, Ashley Weaver, (bottom row) Hilary Orzick, Susan Crumiller, Julia Elmaleh-Sachs, and Joanna Rodriguez.

On November 2, 2023, our client Röbynn Europe received the Courageous Plaintiff award at the 26th Annual National Employment Lawyers Association/New York Gala at the Moxy NYC Times Square. Crumiller also received the Courageous Counsel award for our work on Röbynn’s case.

In a heartfelt speech, Röbynn expressed gratitude for being able to advocate for herself in ways that generations of Black women before her could not.

“My mother had a really successful career, and she put her head down and dealt with abuse because she was concerned she wouldn’t work,” Röbynn said. “My grandmother moved here in 1966 and did the same thing—because she had a family to raise, and she had to make sure I went to school and my father turned out okay.”

Earlier this year, Röbynn won a race and gender discrimination lawsuit against the luxury gym chain Equinox, where she worked as a personal training manager. Equinox tried to argue that it fired Röbynn for tardiness, but she successfully convinced a mostly white jury that her firing was the result of racism and sexism in the workplace. On May 16, 2023, the jury awarded her $1.25 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages.

Since the trial, Röbynn has been working with NELA/NY to advance New York Bill S17/A2865, which would ban a legal practice known as “remittitur” in employment discrimination lawsuits.

Remittitur is a process in which judges evaluate jury awards they deem “excessive,” and then reduce them based on other “comparable” cases. In reality, remittitur retraumatizes plaintiffs and disincentivizes employers to take workplace discrimination claims seriously, because they know that a high jury award will almost certainly be reduced.

Röbynn recently described her own experience dealing with remittitur:

“For me, winning the trial and being validated under the law by eight strangers was more powerful than anything I had ever experienced in my life. I watched our justice system work in a way that it frequently does not for women, BIPOC, queer folks, members of other marginalized communities, or really anyone alleging workplace discrimination.

“…But mere minutes after this incredible victory, I was required to put a new number on what I’d endured. This number was not based on what I needed in order to feel whole again or even anything having to do with Equinox or with me personally.”

Röbynn Europe

Crumiller calls on the New York State Senate and Assembly to immediately pass S17/A2865 when legislative session opens this January.

We’re all in awe of Röbynn’s bravery and commitment to justice. It’s been an honor to represent her these last 4 years.