Yoga Guru Bikram Told to Pay Nearly $1 Mn for Sexual Harassment

A US court orders Yoga guru Bikram Choudhury to pay nearly $1 mn in sexual harassment case by his ex-lawyer.

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Self-acclaimed yoga guru Bikram Choudhury. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="https://www.facebook.com/yogiraj.bikram/">Bikram Choudhury‘s Facebook page)</a>

Popular Indian-American yoga guru Bikram Choudhury has been asked to pay $9,24,500 as compensatory damages to his former lawyer, Minakshi Jafa-Bodden, by a US court over allegations of sexual harassment.

A Los Angeles county jury on Monday voted unanimously in favour of Minakshi.

Jafa-Bodden had accused Choudhury, the founder of Bikram Yoga, of gender discrimination and alleged that she was fired for probing claims of abuse made by other women against him. Choudhury had strongly denied these allegations.

Although Choudhury maintains that Jafa-Bodden was let go in 2013 because she did not have a license to practice law in the US, her lawyer alleges that she was fired for investigating allegations of sexual abuse, including rape, by some of his students.

Jafa-Bodden also claimed that Choudhury persuaded her to leave her native India to work for him as his general counsel in 2011.

She faced retaliation and intimidation when she refused to stay silent about witnessing illegal behaviour. This verdict sends an important message, that speaking out when you see signs of sexual abuse is the right thing to do.

Mark Quigley, Minakshi Jafa-Bodden’s Attorney

Choudhury’s lawyer, Robert Tafoya, declined to comment after the verdict.

Jafa-Bodden’s lawsuit is one of multiple cases of alleged sexual assault filed against Choudhury, who built a yoga empire in the US after moving to California in 1971.

Six other women in recent years have sued Choudhury, alleging that he sexually assaulted or harassed them.

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