The Lizzo Workplace Harassment Lawsuit, Explained

Earlier this week, it was reported that a lawsuit had been filed by three women against the singer Lizzo claiming that she had created a hostile work environment. Among the claims listed in the suit were allegations of racial, religious, and sexual harassment, interference with prospective economic advantage, and false imprisonment, as well as others, leveled against Lizzo, her production company, and her dance team captain, Shirlene Quigley. Not every complaint applies to every defendant. Here’s a further explanation of the lawsuit.

Defendants Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams, and Noelle Rodriguez are all former members of Lizzo’s dance team. Davis and Williams were hired after competing on Lizzo’s show, Watch Out For The Big Grrrls, while Rodriguez was also hired around the same time after appearing in Lizzo’s “Rumors” video. Davis and Williams were both fired earlier this year, while Rodriguez voluntarily resigned. They have since secured the services of Ron Zambrano, the employment litigation chair at West Coast Trial Lawyers, who filed the lawsuit on their behalf on Tuesday, August 1.

In the suit, Lizzo is accused of organizing nights out at strip clubs and nude cabarets with her tour staff, where she is said to have coerced one of the dancers into touching a nude performer’s breast. Although she did not require participation in these outings, the plaintiffs claim that she offered preferential treatment to those who did, but did not always disclose the nature of the group activities ahead of time, making it harder for them to opt out.

She’s also accused of overworking dancers; a 12-hour rehearsal is explicitly mentioned. Dancers were threatened with dismissal if they gave unsatisfactory performances. One dancer says she was fired for pushing back when Lizzo accused the team of drinking before performances. One dancer also believes that comments Lizzo made about her commitment level were “thinly veiled” criticisms of her weight. She says she was fired for recording a meeting with the singer.

Meanwhile, Quigley is accused of shaming the dancers for their sex lives outside of work and trying to convert them to her religion. They also say she made inappropriate sexual comments. Although the suit does not specify a dollar amount, the three women are asking for damages including unpaid wages, loss of earnings, emotional distress, and attorney’s fees. You can see more information below.