Fired Peloton Trainer Daniel McKenna Files $2 Million Lawsuit Against Company for Discrimination

McKenna alleges he was wrongfully fired by Peloton and accused the company of discrimination, harassment and retaliation

Fired Peloton Trainer Files $2 Million Lawsuit Against Company for Discrimination and Retaliation
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A former Peloton instructor has sued the company for nearly $2 million, alleging he was wrongfully fired.

Daniel McKenna filed a lawsuit against Peloton in the New York State's Supreme Court in the County of New York on Wednesday. He also sued Peloton's Chief Content Officer Jennifer Cotter.

In the filing, published online, McKenna alleges that Peloton wrongfully terminated him, and accuses the company of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, claiming he was "subject to a hostile work environment" that violates the New York City Human Rights Law.

McKenna — who began working with Peloton in December 2020 and was fired on Sept. 12 — says he had to undergo an "unexpected surgery" in October 2021 and asked to be excused from a companywide COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The filing alleges that "Cotter made disparaging and denigrating remarks directed" to and "about" him after his request. She also allegedly "categorically denied listening to or exploring the potential for a medical exemption for Plaintiff's vaccination given his individualized medical and health state."

It adds that McKenna expressed concerns that the vaccine could interfere with his recovery. However, he ultimately took the vaccine out of fear that he would lose his job.

After that, Cotter immediately made him go into quarantine for 14 days, even though he "repeatedly tested negative" for the coronavirus, the lawsuit claims.

Peloton declined to comment to PEOPLE, citing the ongoing lawsuit.

McKenna also claims he suffered "targeted discriminatory acts" from Cotter in meetings, and he alleges she once said no one could understand him because of his Irish accent. She also allegedly said she hoped he wasn't "drunk" during a meeting. He addressed Cotter in a phone conversation and she told him she was "mostly joking," the lawsuit says.

This past spring, McKenna suffered an injury while training and had surgery in April. He told Peloton he was ready to return to work in July, despite the doctor advising a six-month recovery period.

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Before his return, Cotter allegedly told McKenna that he could have lost his job for going on short-term disability leave. He went back to teaching classes in July.

He taught a class on Sept. 11, and the following day Peloton called for a Zoom meeting, where he was told he was fired "effective immediately." The company offered him a six-month severance package for $130,000 and he refused to accept "because Peloton held the misguided, unsubstantiated, and contractually illegal position that the termination was for cause," per the lawsuit.

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The complaint claims McKenna's termination doesn't align with Peloton's Employment Agreement as he never received any written warnings leading up to being fired.

He is suing for $500,000 for back pay and front pay, benefits and pre and post-judgment interest. He's also requesting $300,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages.

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