Los Angeles Office Location
Hennig Ruiz Law Firm
Not sure if you have a legal case? Call us to talk to a lawyer:
Free Consultations
424-394-0464
One Of The Most Successful Workers' Rights Trial Law Firms In California

Wrongful Termination in California: Former Bikram Yoga Lawyer Fired for Complaining About Sexual Harassment

Things are beginning to heat up in a California wrongful termination lawsuit against Bikram Yoga and its founder, Bikram Choudhury.

Recently, a California jury heard opening statements where Minakshi Jafa-Bodden, a former legal advisor to the hot yoga guru, claimed Choudhury fired her and threatened to have her killed after she made complaints about sexual harassment - behaviors that Choudhury and his attorneys deny.

Things are beginning to heat up in a California wrongful termination lawsuit against Bikram Yoga and its founder, Bikram Choudhury.

Recently, a California jury heard opening statements where Minakshi Jafa-Bodden, a former legal advisor to the hot yoga guru, claimed Choudhury fired her and threatened to have her killed after she made complaints about sexual harassment - behaviors that Choudhury and his attorneys deny.

Signs of Sexual Harassment in the Bikram Yoga Workplace

Jafa-Bodden's attorney told the jury that her client was fired for complaining about workplace sexual harassment, as well as her concerns about other litigation. However, another attorney for Choudhury claimed Jafa-Bodden lost her job because she wasn't licensed to practice law in California.

According to the plaintiff's attorney, Mark Quigly, Jafa-Bodden, an India native, had been practicing law internationally upon obtaining her degree in Great Britain. Her services were then recommended to Choudhury by an acquaintance. Quigly said that in order for Jafa-Bodden to work in the United States in a capacity that did not require her to be licensed, the yoga innovator would have to sponsor her, and he did.

Quigly went on to say, "They knew she was not licensed in California."

According to the Plaintiff, in March 2011, Jafa-Bodden started working for Choudury, where she received praise of her work. She then began an investigation into lawsuits against Bikram Yoga. Quigly said Jafa-Bodden found a workplace discrimination lawsuit against the company by a black employee. That's when Jafa-Bodden started experiencing backlash from the yoga guru.

The Plaintiff alleges that tension at Bikram Yoga began to worsen when Jafa-Bodden made complaints about how Choudhury treated women in the yoga college workplace. According to Quigly, the women were often called by derogatory names. Quigly also alleged that Choudhury had sex with yoga trainees, plus urinated in front of Jafa-Bodden.

Quigly went on to say that Choudhury warned Jafa-Bodden, "I'll have you deported, I'll have you killed."

Petra Starke, former White House lawyer, worked for Choudhury after Jafa-Bodden was terminated from her position in March 2013. She said she had some of the same experiences as Jafa-Bodden. She, too, was fired.

Choudhury's Attorneys Say Bikram Yoga Sexual Harassment Allegations are False

In response to the allegations against Choudhury, one of his attorneys, Robert Tafoya, argued that the plaintiff's case was built on "smoke and mirrors" and that she and her attorneys "take a kernel of truth and turn it into something it is not."

Tafoya also said that Choudhury believed the plaintiff was licensed to practice law in California. In addition to that, Tafoya argued that Jafa-Bodden only Saw Choudhury urinate in front of her because she walked into his suite's restroom without permission.

On Choudhury's character, Tafoya said that though the defendant sometimes uses bad language, he "is not the monster Mr. Quigly would like you to believe he is [...] Choudhury lived the American dream and started his business in a garage."

This isn't the first time Choudhury has felt the heat from lawsuits brought against him. He has also recently been accused of rape, sexual assault, and wrongful termination by other former employees.

Read the original story: Bikram Yoga legal battles continue on MyNewsLA.com

Additional Information on Bikram Yoga Lawsuits

  • Yoga guru Bikram Choudhury accused of sex assault, rape via CNN.com
  • Yoga Guru Threatened to Kill Fired Legal Head, Jury Told via Law 360
  • Yoga guru Bikram Choudhury's wife files for divorce after rape allegations via New York Daily News

Additional Information About Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

  • Sexual Harassment Cases in California: Real-Life Examples
  • Sexual Harassment - Legal Standards via Workplace Fairness
  • Facts About Sexual Harassment via U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

If you feel you have been subjected to sexual harassment or wrongful termination in California, contact our passionate employment attorneys so they can help you file a claim.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • Super lawyers
  • California Employment Lawyers Association
  • Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles

What Our Clients Say About Us

  1. I needed great attorneys in a short period of time, it was an emergency situation. Some research led me to the Hennig-Ruiz law firm. We spoke on the phone and they had me come into the office and started on my case immediately. They got me exactly what I wanted and did it in the shortest amount of time possible. They were caring, fair and extremely good at what they do. I definitely would recommend them to anyone. -Scott Rooney

  2. If you are looking for legal representation I would suggest for you to consider Hennig Ruiz Law Firm. Put succinctly, their legal team was intelligent, hard working, responsive, and very knowledgeable throughout our time working together. While I of course cannot divulge details about the assistance that the firm provided for me, I can and will say that their representation was pivotal and changed my life for the better beyond words... -Shane Guglielmo

  3. I went to this firm to have a separation letter reviewed and met a young lawyer named Janet Hong. She was extremely friendly, professional, thorough and quick. She reviewed the documentation promptly and gave me actionable advice. I was able to resolve everything quickly. I would not hesitate to recommend Janet to anyone seeking legal services. -Brendan Hagerty

Schedule a Free Consultation

Ready To Start Protecting Your Rights? Call 424-394-0464

Not Sure Whether You Need Lawyer?

Answer a few questions to see whether you have a case.
Get Started Here

Office Location

Hennig Ruiz Law Firm
1925 Century Park East
Suite 1960
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Toll Free: 800-260-6542
Phone: 424-394-0464
Fax: 310-843-9150
Map & Directions

Free Consultations

Contact Us