A former Equinox employee says managers harassed her with lurid texts and that she was fired for needing to take care of her kids

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A former Equinox employee said managers sent her explicit sexual texts and routinely harassed her.

She said she was fired for asking to work from home part time to balance childcare.

Equinox said it strives “to foster a culture built on respect, diversity and inclusion.”

A former Equinox employee said managers at the luxe fitness center sexually harassed her with “dick pics” and explicit text messages. When she tried to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to take care of her two young children, her pay was slashed, the employee said.

Jaime Piccolo, formerly the senior director of corporate accounts, made the allegations against Equinox in a complaint filed Monday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency that oversees workplace-discrimination claims.

The move is a first step before her lawyers can file a class-action lawsuit against the company in federal court.

Piccolo said she was fired in November after she sought accommodations to balance her work duties with caring for her two children.

According to her complaint, Gary Browne, an Equinox senior vice president, discriminated against her by refusing to accommodate her schedule as a working mother even during earlier surges of COVID-19 in late 2020.

Piccolo said their disagreement escalated as Browne slashed her pay and commented, “Don’t you ever bring your children into this. I don’t ever want to hear about your children,” according to her EEOC complaint. Besides being inflexible about her work-from-home requests, Browne also harassed her for her appearance when she gained weight, she said. Browne “would comment about how Ms. Piccolo did not work out in order to embarrass her,” Piccolo said in the complaint.

Piccolo said the experience was emblematic of a broader “misogynistic bro culture” at Equinox, where the vast majority of top leadership are men.

“It would not be an understatement to say that Equinox’s workplace culture is uniquely and ubiquitously misogynistic and anti-women,” Piccolo said in her complaint. “Indeed, over and over again, Equinox’s female employees – particularly mothers – are subjected to egregious discrimination and sexual harassment, including sexual assault, and, like clockwork, Equinox turns a blind eye to this unlawful conduct and retaliates against those who are brave enough to report it.”

Equinox representative Dan Bank told Insider in an emailed statement that the company plans to “vigorously defend” itself against “any and all claims made in the filing that we believe are false or mischaracterize details.”

“We take all claims of misconduct very seriously and strive to foster a culture built on respect, diversity and inclusion, and it is required that everyone in our community to uphold these values,” Bank wrote. “Employees found in violation of our policies are subject to disciplinary action, including termination.”

Piccolo says she was harassed by more than half a dozen male managers

According to Piccolo, Equinox leadership cultivated an environment in which managers were not held accountable for harassing employees at work.

She said she was harassed by more than half a dozen male managers and executives during her nearly two decades at the company.

For instance, Piccolo said Jed Prisby, a former senior director of club operations, barraged her with “numerous dick pics over the years,” “rubbed up against her” at work events, and sent her explicit messages describing sexual fantasies.

Prisby was later fired but only after it was discovered he was sleeping with one of his direct reports, according to the complaint. Piccolo said her claims about his sexual harassment went ignored.

Piccolo said several other regional directors including Brian DeCato, who has since resigned, also harassed her and other employees.

Piccolo’s complaint is the latest in a chorus of allegations about sexual harassment and discrimination at Equinox. At least two lawsuits have been brought over DeCato’s behavior, and female managers have also sued the company over allegations of gender and pregnancy discrimination.

Piccolo’s complaint wasn’t filed in court, but she plans to sue Equinox soon

Piccolo filed her complaint Monday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is often a required first step before employees can bring harassment claims in federal court.

The EEOC oversees federal workplace-discrimination laws. In most cases, employees must first file their harassment claims with the agency before bringing a lawsuit in federal court.

Filing an EEOC complaint also allows employees to pursue their claims without necessarily going public, if they’d rather protect their privacy.

But employees can often also get the agency’s permission to sue through what’s known as an EEOC right-to-sue letter and pursue their claims in public court.

Piccolo’s lawyers have indicated to the EEOC that they plan to sue Equinox when they get a letter, detailing potential class claims that target the broader culture at the gym.

This story has been updated with a statement from Equinox.

Why meteorological spring starts Tuesday and not on the equinox

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Meteorological spring starts March 1 each year. This date is used by meteorologists and climatologists to mark the beginning of the spring season. Meteorological spring will last for three months including March, April and May.

Astronomical spring starts later in the month. This year it is on March 20 at 11:33 a.m. The reason for the later date is because this is when the spring equinox takes place. This is also known as the vernal equinox.

This specific date is marked by the sun crossing the equator as the Earth orbits around it. The sun’s angle is 90° to the equator. It will continue to push this 90° line north until summer when it stops at the Tropic of Cancer. The Tropic of Cancer is located at 23.5° N latitude.

The reason you hear about two spring start dates is because one is an exact time during the year vernal/spring equinox, and the other is the date that starts the three months most related to spring.

Meteorologists and climatologists use the quarter system throughout the year to make it easier to record and keep records during each season. The three-month system does not factor in the changing date of each season through the year. It is a simple three months for spring (March, April, May). The same goes for meteorological summer, fall and winter.

Meteorological Seasons:

Winter: Dec., Jan., Feb.

Spring: March, April, May

Summer: June, July, Aug.

Fall: Sept., Oct., Nov.

Astronomical Season Dates 2022:

Spring starts on March 20 at 11:33 a.m.

Summer starts on June 21 at 5:13 a.m.

Fall starts on Sept. 22 at 9:03 p.m.

Winter starts on Dec. 21 at 3:59 p.m.

Patrick Rowan’s Skywatch: Vernal equinox marks return of spring

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On Feb. 23, my wife and I were happy to find early evidence of spring: the season’s first chlorophyll infused crocus shoots along the south and west facing walls of our house.

Almost an inch high, they must have come up days earlier. Then, the snow fell, but that’s OK; spring will overwhelm winter’s stragglers as sure as dawn vanquishes the night.

The imminent arrival of spring here in southern New England with its promise of warmer weather has become my new favorite time of year, just barely edging out the crisp weather of fall. These days, I’m pretty much done with winter by February, and start wishing the sun would hurry back from down south where it’s been for too long.

How the Spring Equinox Can Bring You Back to Center

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Psst…did you know that the spring equinox is also a horoscope holiday? Facts! In 1993, March 20 was declared International Astrology Day and the astro world has been low-key celebrating ever since. This is the auspicious day each year when sun returns to 0º Aries—the starting point of the zodiac—resetting the cosmic calendar for a fresh, 365-day cycle.

Astrologically, you could think of the March 20 equinox (March 21 in some time zones) as a reset for your internal compass. As the Sun makes its journey toward the Northern hemisphere, reflect on your own “true north.” Is life heading in a direction that aligns with your higher self? Do you need to raise your standards or elevate your efforts?

Equinox, which translates into “equal night,” is one of only two days annually where the Sun sits on the Earth’s equator, blessing both hemispheres with equal ray action. As a result, most places on the planet have a rare, 24 hours of nearly uniform daylight and nighttime hours.

This makes March 20 a vital day to examine your internal balance. Are you shining bright (like a diamond) or delving into introspection and shadow work? It’s kind of like finding that equilibrium between your own day and night states. And guess what? The fastest sunrises and sunsets happen on the equinox. Think of this as yet another metaphor for the accelerated personal growth you can do near March 20.

What’s the best way for your zodiac sign to do this? Naturally, we have a few suggestions. Basically, it boils down to looking at the light and shadows in an equal way. And while this starts with the equinox, you have all four weeks of Aries season, until April 19, to build that muscle. So, here it goes…

Aries

Light

It’s your birthday season, Aries, which means you’re back in action star mode, ready to tackle new initiatives and basically start everything fresh. These energizing four weeks are prime time for daring adventures that push you out of your comfort zone. Grant yourself the right to move on from activities that you know in your heart you’ve outgrown.

Shadow

Whoa, Aries! You don’t need to tear down EVERY structure in your life that isn’t up to code. In many cases, a “remodel” will do just fine. Your impulsive sign can make rash (and regrettable) decisions in the heat of the moment, so think those goodbyes through carefully. At the very least, make a graceful exit.

Balance

New year, new you? But of course, Aries. But let’s talk about your short attention span. You’re a dynamic soul with many talents and your interest wanes fast. So try making micro resolutions. Start with a few four-week goals; what can you accomplish before the Sun leaves your sign on April 19? With those wins under your belt, you’ll be motivated to tackle the next mission…and the one after that.

Taurus

Light

Aries season comes right before your birthday. With the Sun in your rejuvenating twelfth house, use this time to catch up on beauty rest, tie up loose ends, and detox everything from your food choices to your friend list to any limiting beliefs you’ve adopted. These can be the most spiritually illuminating four weeks of your entire year.

Shadow

Like all mere mortals, you’ve got baggage, Taurus. Judging yourself does zero good; just go deal with the claim checks. (Which may involve apologizing to other people for judging them!) Messy rooms and brimming storage closets reflect your state of mind. Consider unpacking your bottled up emotions with a supportive guide like a coach or therapist. Profound insights can change everything while the Sun is in Aries and your twelfth house of subconscious healing.

Balance

Before you attack the physical clutter, clear your mind with journaling or meditative activities like painting or playing music. Then, get started in the serene state that your Venus-ruled sign prefers. You might actually enjoy this cleanup mission, especially if you discover buried treasures in your closets and bins.

Gemini

Light

Many hands (and minds) make light work as the Sun sails through Aries and your 11th house of collaboration. Circulate with intriguing people in your industry and scope out some new scenes in your area. Begin meeting regularly to get organized around your next shared mission, whether you’re teaming up on a moneymaking venture or planning an epic group vacation.

Shadow

The struggle is real, Gemini, but what if it wasn’t totally necessary? There may be one area of life where you’re being a stubborn holdout, refusing to “play well with others” or abide by the majority rule of the team. And what’s that all about? Your underlying fear of being bored or trapped.

Balance

Go make what Civil Rights legend John Lewis called “good trouble.” The 11th house rules activism, making this the perfect four-week cycle to throw your energy behind an important cause or bring a meaningful dimension to a current mission.

Cancer

Light

Since Aries rules your 10th house of success, the call to leadership will get louder by the day. Don’t resist! Bring your A game and you’ll blaze a trail straight to the executive suites—or maybe your own home office, which might be more your dream.

Shadow

As one of the zodiac’s four cardinal signs, there’s an Alpha in you, even if you hide your bossy tendencies behind a modest veneer. That said, your competitive streak could really flare up the next four weeks. You’re in it to win it, but at what cost? Don’t venture into the shark tank just because everyone else is acting like a bloodthirsty barracuda. Give it your absolute best shot, then let go and trust the process.

Balance

Your ability to nurture relationships is your best “job security” tactic. Socialize strategically, planting yourself around the movers and shakers. Apply for membership at a prestigious club or industry organization. Get involved in a charity where you might meet like-minded givers. If this doesn’t give you a direct pipeline to the top brass, maybe you’ll connect to their staff who may later recommend you for an opportunity.

Leo

Light

A change of scenery may be all you can think about starting this March 20 as the Aries Sun shines into your worldly ninth house for a month. Start researching destinations that feel like a good fit for your travel parameters. Long-distance connections will also heat up. Whether you’re looking for love, business partners, or creative collaborators, expand your search radius.

Shadow

As the zodiac’s royal, you need your creature comforts (and yes, decadence) when you sojourn; but not without your fair share of culturally immersive experiences. But sometimes your fear of the unknown can temporarily turn you into a fussy diva. When you find the GPS coordinates that call your name, don’t deliberate endlessly; book the trip! Yes, even if the hotel doesn’t have in-room spa services…

Balance

Your yearning for travel may be covering up a desire for more variety and self-nurturing close to home. Break up the binge-watching ennui and jump into evening workshops and fitness classes. (And try a ClassPass so you can sample different studios.) Treat yourself to massages, mani-pedis, and more fancy dinners, just like you would at that five-star resort.

Virgo

Light

As the Aries Sun simmers in your eighth house of mystery, secrets, and seduction, you may feel like flying under the radar for a month. It’s not that you have to disappear from the world altogether. But you’ll need your cave time—and your sexy time—in much larger doses. Relationships intensify under this solar spell, and there’s nothing lighthearted about them. A clear confirmation of devotion is an absolute requirement.

Shadow

Stormy feelings like jealousy, insecurity, and a fear of rejection can overtake you—especially if you’re doing the analytical Virgo thing and reading into people’s motives from afar. Monitor that intensity! You could overwhelm the object of your affections with actions that fall squarely into the “too much, too soon” category.

Balance

Channel that passionate energy into something physical too—always a good move for health-conscious Virgos. Start a yoga practice or jump into a four-week boot camp. Bonus: being in your body makes you feel like a sexy siren, so if things don’t work out with you-know-who, it won’t be long before you find a replacement.

Libra

Light

It’s prime time for partnership, Libra—music to your collaborative ears. While the Sun sails through Aries for a month, you attract complementary people who pick up where you leave off. In existing partnerships, recalibrate the level of give and take so it feels fair and square. A relationship that’s been flowing along beautifully could be ready for that “next steps” conversation between now and April 19.

Shadow

Although balance is everything to a Libra, watch out for toxic “tit for tat” scorekeeping. This may actually be a defense mechanism, especially if you got burned in the past by pouring out your passionate feelings to someone who didn’t reciprocate. Still, does every new person have to be punished for that sorry punk’s negligence?

Balance

Boundaries are a beautiful thing—and yes, Libra, you may need to set them with yourself. Giving too much too soon can be a problem for your romantic sign, so it’s good to set some limits. For example, hang out with a new date for no longer than two hours on your first encounter. Meet a prospective client on Zoom for a 20-minute chemistry meeting. Give enough of yourself to show interest, but also leave (the right) people wanting more!

Scorpio

Light

With the Aries Sun heating up your sixth house of healthy routines, you’re ready for an inside-out spring cleaning. Reboot your energy with a regular fitness and clean eating plan. At the office, hit the brake temporarily and assess your workflow. What time-saving systems can you set up that will not only zap stress but also save you from repeating tasks that could easily be automated?

Shadow

As the sign of extremes, you’ll go HAM, working around the clock to crush a goal. It’s not unlike you to dive into an intense boot camp and push yourself past your edge. The trouble is these types of punishing regimens are not sustainable. They may have the opposite of your intended effect, causing you to lose steam or stop believing in yourself.

Balance

Instead of denying yourself enjoyment with a deprivation mindset, try the “crowding out” method instead. Adding is a lot easier than subtracting when it comes to making change. Instead of swearing off sugar, for example, focus on eating leafy greens with every meal. As you fuel yourself with delicious, plant-based foods and brain-boosting proteins, you might stop craving a daily cupcake fix.

Sagittarius

Light

Winter hibernation is officially over as the Sun sails into fellow fire sign Aries, igniting blazes in your glamorous, amorous fifth house. Emerge from the hive and claim your Queen Bee status. Pull on your most colorful, head-turning outfits just to go pick up coffee. Make experimental music and art. Romantically, these could be the most passionate and exciting four weeks you’ve had all year!

Shadow

As eager as you are to include people in your exciting plans, don’t put the cart before the horse. Your visionary powers are operating at a rainbows and unicorns level, but the mission can go off the rails if you fail to maintain creative control of any project you initiate. It’s okay to be the boss, Sagittarius, especially during Aries season. Also, bear in mind practical considerations of course, such as finances and, uh, gravity.

Balance

You’re more comfortable in the role of trailblazer than manager, but with the right squad of competent, self-authorized team players, you won’t feel weighed down with responsibility. Take the randomization out of the process. Write up a job description and a list of qualifications. Screen people with a thorough interview process. This might seem obvious, but your impulsive sign skips that step more often than you realize.

Capricorn

Light

Home is where your heart is, Capricorn—well, that’s what they say, right? Until April 19, the Sun beams into Aries, illuminating your fourth house of domestic affairs. Like opening the blinds and letting the light stream in, you’ll notice all the dust bunnies, messy countertops, and other areas that aren’t quite up to code. And let’s not even get started on the annoying habits of relatives and roomies that you’ve been trying to justify. Ignoring these things will be impossible for the next month. Redecorate, renovate, or reconfigure your space to suit your current lifestyle.

Shadow

If you’ve been feuding with a close friend or relative, you may be able to clear the air now, but not by sweeping the drama under the rug. Watch your tendency to suppress any struggles—especially if you’re doing it to keep up appearances. Forthright Aries Season is a time for dealing directly with conflict. If you can’t seem to broach a certain subject without screaming, you might need to bring in a mediator or sit down for a co-counseling session.

Balance

Although certain relationships may be fraught with tension, buffer yourself with support from people who do get you. Be sure to let the softer side of Capricorn shine through. Your vulnerability is the bridge to deeper levels of intimacy. At home, create one area that is your sanctuary—and if need be, install a smart lock on the door.

Aquarius

Light

Mic drop! You’re in your wise and witty element every year when the Aries Sun lights up your third house of communication. Here’s the chance you’ve been waiting for to finish your screenplay, perform standup, start a podcast—or just tell the world how you really feel. During this cooperative cycle, new friends come out of the woodwork. Hello, popularity boost!

Shadow

With shoot-from-the-hip Aries ruling your communication sector, you’re no stranger to shock value. But like fellow Aquarius James Dean, are you being a rebel without a cause? Don’t stir the pot just to cause controversy. Even a well-intentioned cause may have some nefarious roots, so don’t rush to throw support behind anyone until you know what they’re really all about.

Balance

While you’re never at a loss for clever one-liners, balance out those bon mots with some active listening. It’s simple in theory, but not so easy to pull off. When conversing, concentrate fully and soak in people’s words. Before you respond, you might repeat back what they said to make sure you actually understand. For example, “What I think I’m hearing you say is X. Did I get that right?”

Pisces

Light

Aries season means the end of your birthday celebration, but with the Sun in your industrious second house, you’re back to a productive groove. Finally, you can road test all those genius ideas that floated into your psyche over the past four weeks. Are you on the job hunt? This solar cycle could bring some bright possibilities your way. Spruce up your resume and circulate it online and IRL. If you love your job, you could be up for a raise and promotion.

Shadow

See it, want it? That’s the Pisces way. When you’re overtaken by desire, you can burn through your earnings faster than a lit match on a dry bed of grass. Impulse purchases could put you in the red, so don’t bank on money that’s not in your pocket—or borrow what you’re not absolutely certain you can pay back.

Balance

As eager as you are to kick off a promising initiative, think like a project manager first. Run it through the reality filter: What budgets, resources, and time commitments will be required to pull this off? Simplifying your original vision might be the saving grace. You can always add more bells and whistles with your version 2.0.

The AstroTwins Identical twin sisters Ophira and Tali Edut (The AstroTwins), have been ELLE.com ’s official astrologers for over a decade.

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Embracing the Equinox

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Chevrolet Equinox Electric Vehicle – All-New 2024 Compact SUV

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We’ve known for quite a while that General Motors and Chevrolet were looking to shift their lineup towards electrified vehicles.

They’re following the trend started by Tesla a decade ago and have gone as far as to commit to selling nothing but electric vehicles by 2040.

And one major step forward in that goal was the new Hummer EV and the next was the Cadillac Lyriq.

Following up those two cars was the Chevrolet Silverado EV but now we know that an all-new Chevrolet Equinox Electric Vehicle is set to join the fold sooner rather than later.

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The Chevrolet Equinox Electric Vehicle Shares DNA With The Family

It’s no secret that this is a Chevrolet from the very first moment you look at it. Frankly, it looks a lot like an updated Blazer to us. Still, this is the next look for Equinox and it’s coming by 2024. Stylistically, it’s about as advanced as any Chevrolet short of the Corvette right now. Thankfully, it’s not just the exterior styling cues that it shares with the family.

Underpinning the 2024 Chevrolet Equinox Electric Vehicle will be the same Ultium platform found in every one of the above-mentioned GM products. It offers ultimate modularity and flexibility. Of course, depending on the vehicle and the battery capacity, range and power can be vastly different. Chevrolet was totally silent on those statistics though. The Cadillac Lyriq is most closely related to this upcoming Equinox so we can inform our expectations based on that SUV. For instance, we know that the Lyriq will have more than 300 miles of range and makes at least 340-horsepower. We expect Equinox to offer less power but at least as much range, if not more.

An Electric Interior

While we won’t have a real image of the inside of the new Equinox for quite a while, concept art released by Chevrolet hints at a bright future. A large panoramic screen extends from the drive information panel to the infotainment system. Cool blue dash and door car trim are a nice touch too. We knew that the shift to all-electric vehicles would be a fairly drastic one. It’s great to see Chevrolet finding a way to take these steps that feels both significant and comfortable too. They say the Chevrolet Equinox Electric Vehicle will go on sale in late 2023 as a 2024 model and start at a remarkable $30,000.