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Sexual harassment: Hot yoga founder ordered to forfeit proceeds

A Los Angeles employment law judge ordered Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram Yoga, to turn over business proceeds earned by his global fitness company in order to pay $6.8 million to his ex-legal advisor. The legal advisor won a large sexual harassment lawsuit against Choudhury after she filed a wrongful termination and sexual harassment lawsuit against the man.

The Los Angeles judge has ordered Choudhury to redirect the money he is earning from 700 yoga studios and sales of his books, which are paying him royalties for the use of his name. According to the ex-advisor for Choudhury, the woman was terminated after she refused to assist him in burying his rape allegations. The advisor further alleged that Choudhury touched her inappropriately.

The attorney served as the head of international and legal affairs for Choudhury's Los Angeles-based hot yoga school in Spring 2011 through March 2013. Bikram Yoga is a special kind of yoga that takes advantage of heated rooms as hot as 100 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve various purported health benefits over traditional yoga. Some claim that "hot yoga" makes them more flexible and assists their health in other ways.

This case is an excellent example of how sexual harassment victims and wrongful termination victims can hold their employers legally accountable and financially liable for their abuses of employment law and employee rights. It is also an example of how courts will strive to intervene where possible to ensure that a court-ordered award is paid in full. Los Angeles residents who are currently suffering from sexual harassment, or believe that they have suffered a wrongful termination, may wish to investigate how they can assert their legal rights in court.

Source: CBS Sacramento, "Bikram Yoga Founder Ordered To Turn Over Proceeds After Sexual Harassment Suit," accessed Jan. 12, 2017

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