Yoga Guru Fined $6.5m Over Sexual Harassment


Yoga guru



US-based millionaire Bikram Choudhury, 69, is famous for the yoga method he began performing in a hot room in 2002.

The $6m is in addition to $1m Minakshi Jafa-Bodden was awarded on Monday.

She was head of legal and international affairs at Mr Choudhury’s Los Angeles yoga school from 2011 until 2013.

Ms Jafa-Bodden said she was abruptly sacked from her position for refusing to cover up an investigation into a rape allegation.

On Tuesday, a jury in a Los Angeles court ordered the India-born guru to pay her nearly $6.5m in punitive damages, reports say.

The jury on Monday had awarded her nearly $1m in compensation after it decided that she was subjected to harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

That brings the total damages to more than $7m.


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“Ms Jafa-Bodden faced retaliation and intimidation when she refused to stay silent about witnessing illegal behaviour,” her attorney, Mark Quigley, said in a statement.

Mr Choudhury had dismissed the allegations during the trial and said Ms Jafa-Bodden was sacked from her job because she did not have a license to practice law in the US.

Separately, Mr Choudhury is facing accusations of sexual assault, with six women filing lawsuits against him. His lawyers say the claims are “false”.

Hot yoga is now taught at more than 650 studios around the world.

In October, Mr Choudhury lost a court battle to copyright the poses.

The US court ruled that health-related yoga could not be copyrighted.

-bbc



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