Details from the Peloton lawsuit…

Oct 12, 2022

The recently fired Peloton instructor Daniel McKenna has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit. (credit: The Daily Beast)

What we’ve learned so far from the document is below. Note that all of this alleged, and is from the lawsuit document uploaded. Also note that Peloton has not responded so these notes are from Daniel McKenna’s lawsuit, and not necessarily unbiased.

  • First part of lawsuit documents Daniel McKenna’s quick rise in popularity in class following and on social media since his announcement at Peloton in August of 2021. 
  • Daniel requested a medical exemption from the Covid-19 vaccine mandate in October 2021 after unexpected surgery. Per p7-9 of legal complaint, Daniel was concerned that “the vaccine could impede his recovery from surgery or have an adverse effect on his health given …post-surgery state allowing for …to qualify for the legitimate medical exception to the vaccine mandate”

 

  • Lawsuit alleges that around that time, the Plaintiff ( Peloton and or a Peloton employee) started to make “disparaging remarks to and indirectly to and about Daniel McKenna”
  • Options for the medical exemption were dismissed by Peloton, and Daniel McKenna got the vaccine in “fear of disrupting his career and/or employment with Peloton”
  • Once he got his vaccination, the Peloton employee forced McKenna to observe a 14 day quarantine period
  • McKenna hired a mental wellness professional to help him after the “hostility” he faced from the Peloton employee/Defendant.

 

  • McKenna also says that Cotter/Peloton would ask him to take down social media posts that had “nothing to do with Peloton or irrelevant to Peloton” (We at B&C are wondering what those posts were – tell us if you know about those in the comments)
  • McKenna says that the Peloton employee made comments saying things like, “I hope you are not drunk, Daniel” at staff meetings and “nobody understands what you are saying, Daniel”, referring to his Irish accent, and that McKenna complained on the phone to her about this. It says that “many of the instructors were/are afraid of the Defendant because she has the power to reduce their classes, played favorites, [with] advertising spots and placements with reputed sports gear and apparel companies, and created a pervasive atmosphere of hostility”

 

  • In Spring of 2022, McKenna injured himself and needed immediate surgery, and asked for leave while recovering from his surgery which was on April 25, 2022. He told the company in May 2022 he was ready to come back on July 1.
  • Peloton scheduled a meeting with him on June 23, telling him he could be fired for taking short term disability, but that they would let him resume employment. At that meeting, they said “it was not looking good” and he should be fired because in “corporate America” it was not acceptable to take disability leave for injuries and surgeries. But, after sending an email saying he was looking forward to moving forward with a fresh start in July, Daniel got an email saying “onward and upward” from the Defendant in response. He taught his classes until September 11. 

 

  • On September 12, Peloton called a meeting with him and fired him over Zoom. At the meeting, Peloton did not give any “description or basis for any violations that indicated that [McKenna] did not perform his duties ably. 
  • The Severance offered was “significantly lower and in breach of the Peloton Employment Agreements that provide for higher compensation for termination without cause”. McKenna repeatedly requested that Peloton provide a written reason for termination, and no “detailed, descriptive or factual explanation” was given. 
  • Peloton’s Employment Agreements impose a non-compete clause that encompasses the U.S. (non-competes are very common, and it spanning the US is not surprising given Peloton’s reach in the US)

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/23130609-peloton-suit

20 Comments

  1. Peloton sucks

    As he should!

    Reply
  2. Hypocrites

    Good! I hope he wins!!!

    Reply
  3. Miss HR

    The short term disability part is most bizarre, if true. Short term disability is absolutely used in the US for surgeries and injuries if he qualified under their plan.

    Reply
  4. Drain it

    If he wants to be homophobic, transphobic and all around gross on social then he can go make his own workout platform once his non compete expires. Sorry but companies have a right to fire people over social media activity – which he conveniently leaves out of this

    Reply
  5. Brooke

    This has to be wired Robin the head of all programming or Rebecca in charge of strength! Andy went missing for a couple months also!

    Reply
  6. HelpIdontTwitter

    Can someone PLEASE share these homophobic/transphobic tweets? I don’t do twitter but really enjoyed him on Peloton & I just need to see it to believe it cause I was blindsided by him leaving

    Reply
  7. Pelobabe

    There have been other instructors who took long injury breaks so the ST disability thing seems odd? and given his popularity, I feel like there is more to the story as Peloton had to know it members would be really upset if he wasn’t with the company anymore and not sure liking a few tweets (as bad as they are) would be worth firing him- maybe it made some if the co-workers uncomfortable/upset? I don’t get why couldn’t just make an alt account if it was social media related to led to this

    Reply
  8. Pelofan

    I’ve handled STD claims for 15 years. NY is a statutory state. Meaning, as long as a Physician is confirming Disability they will be approved. However, the pay is very minimum 170/week. Im sure there is another plan through Peloton that he was denied. But to be denied for this type of injury is pretty unheard of. Unless they had a pre-ex clause in their plan or he wasnt eligible.

    Reply
  9. Right to Work Sucks

    Depending on the state Peloton is headquartered in they don’t have to give a reason. I was fired without reason from David’s Bridal. They didn’t give a reason on paper, but the manager told me corporate made her due to me having a seizure on the clock. If it was a right to work state, disclosure is not required.

    Reply
  10. AP

    Why is this guy having so many “unexpected” surgeries? 2 in 6 months?

    Reply
  11. Maddy

    Based on this description, the employee absolutely has to be Robin. She is very phony and vicious behind the scenes. She absolutely uses her position to control the other instructors. People are scared of her (including staff).

    Reply
  12. Jbu

    This sounds like a lot of grasping at straws. I hope Peloton has his posts documented.

    Reply
  13. Real HR person

    “Short term disability” isn’t protected time off. That would fall under FMLA if he was employed for at least a full year, which he was not. So an employer can fire someone for taking medical/short term disability if they have not worked a year as it is not protected time off at that point. I’ve been a HR Manager for 15 years and have never once even used the term “short term disability” when speaking to an employee because it’s not something related employment in any way unless it also falls under FMLA.

    Reply
  14. Duh

    Non competes are not enforceable in many states. Including California!!!

    Reply
  15. Pelotoner

    It is Jennifer cotter the director of marketing that they speak about in the lawsuit

    Reply
  16. Liz

    Wow never took his class so I can’t to his likeabilty as a instructor but really think he should realize in this day and age. Companies aren’t going to stand for your personal ignorant hate and stupidity. He’s a public figure the front for a major company where instructors make unbelievable amounts of money. As a former instructor/trainer I am floored by how much they make. He knew this and screwed himself. Now he’s trying to recoup. And I happen to love Robin. I have met her away from the studio and while she’s intense she’s a genuine sweetheart. As is Tunde , Cody and my love Alex !

    Reply
  17. Hmmmmm

    Short-term disability isn’t uncommon in corporate companies. My father is an engineer and had to get foot surgery back in May of this year. He was able to receive short-term disability without any penalties because his doctor/insurance approved it. Spewing hate and homophobic remarks is NEVER OKAY but using the disability excuse is just that…an excuse. There’s way more to this than what we’re receiving. IMO

    Reply
  18. The English Yank

    He 100% should be suing them and I hope he makes them pay.

    All this talk about “transphobic/homophobic” tweets, but I have yet to see any proof…

    Reply
  19. Jennifer

    Someone suggested Robin but remember, she is a lawyer by trade, so she knows what she can/can’t legally do. I bet she has her own ass covered on this.

    Reply

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