Two personal trainers are suing former employer Life Time, Chanhassen, Minnesota, over allegedly unpaid wages and illegal labor practices, according to a complaint recently filed with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
In their Sept. 26 complaint, Gabriel Rodriguez and Sarah Giesman accuse Life Time's Dublin, Ohio, health club of willfully violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Ohio labor laws. During their employment, Rodriguez (March 2007 to October 2016) and Giesman (January 2016 to March 2017) claim they regularly performed unpaid work, did not receive minimum wage and were not paid overtime after logging 40-plus-hour weeks. Rodriguez and Giesman allege Life Time administrators were aware of these practices and did not intervene.
They are seeking a trial by jury, back pay and an equivalent amount in liquidated damages for putative class members who opt into the lawsuit.
The complaint states: "Life Time has become one of America’s fastest growing fitness centers. Life Time, however, achieved this success by intentionally engaging in deceitful schemes to either not pay Personal Trainers for work performed, or deduct business losses and shortages from their wages, resulting in Personal Trainers performing substantial work for which they were not paid."
The complaint claims that, in order to obscure facts, Life Time administrators did not keep accurate records of personal trainers' hours and pay rates. It also says administrators would deduct business losses and employee uniform costs from personal trainers' wages.
Rodriguez and Giesman allege that security camera footage, cross-referenced with payroll records and work emails, will reinforce their case.
The complaint states: "Defendant Life Time did not want to pay the minimum-wage draw to Personal Trainers because it was a cost to the business which affected profitability."
When asked, Life Time told Club Industry on Oct. 10 it cannot comment on active litigation.
In October 2017, Life Time and a group of 186 trainers from the company's California clubs reached a $940,000 settlement over allegedly unpaid wages.
Life Time ranked second on Club Industry's Top 100 Health Clubs of 2018 list with an estimated $1.55 billion in 2017 revenue.