Is Your Personal Trainer Being Worked Over by their Employer?

Personal trainers everywhere work hard to provide many of us with the best services as possible. They deserve every penny of their paychecks and maybe even some pay for putting in overtime. Unfortunately, recently there has been an alarming number of personal trainer lawsuits because the trainers claim they were not properly paid wages or overtime they are entitled to under the Fair Labor Standards Act. If you or someone you care about has been denied proper wages and overtime pay because of being  misclassified or other unethical business practice, you need to speak to a wage and overtime pay lawyer with The Higgins Firm. We know you work hard for your paycheck and we will do everything we can to make sure that you are compensation for all the hours you have worked.


In this particular case, several personal trainers that worked at Gold’s Texas, a franchisee group of Gold’s Gym International, claim that they were misclassified as exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA.  The issue is whether payments received by the trainers constituted commission under 29 U.S.C. 207(i), a provision in the FLSA. Gold’s Texas denied it violated any provisions of the FLSA in an answer filed to the complaint in February 2014.


The class action lawsuit is seeking a jury trial to award actual and liquidated damages for the unpaid overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act, liquidated damages as provided by the FLSA,reasonable attorney’s fees under the FLSA, pre-judgment and post-judgment interest as provided by law, all costs of court and any other entitled relief.


A judge’s ordered put the lawsuit on track for a possible trial. The order which was twenty-seven pages long,  granted the plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment and denied Gold’s Texas’ motion for summary judgment.


A motion for summary judgment is put before a judge when a party, Gold’s Texas in this case, believes there is not a genuine dispute as to any material fact and believes it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.  A motion for partial summary judgment  narrows the scope of litigation by determining certain material facts are not genuinely in dispute and can precipitate settlements.


The judge’s order in this case came to the conclusion that Gold’s Texas “may not, as a matter of law, defend against alleged violations of the FLSA at trial by claiming the exemption set forth in 29 U.S.C. 207(i) because the instant compensation scheme is not a bona fide commission.”


The plaintiffs in this lawsuit are claiming that more than half of the compensation that trainers received did not represent commissions on goods or services.  Gold’s Texas allegedly paid the plaintiffs and other personal trainers a piece rate for each unit of personal training provided. The plaintiffs allege there is a direct correlation between the number of hours worked and the amount they were compensated, which disqualifies the piece rate from being a commission, according to the complaint.


When one of the personal trainer’s complained to the company about not receiving overtime pay, the company allegedly told them that they were exempt from overtime because of a provision in the Fair Labor Standards Act.


The judge’s order covered the two ways Gold’s Texas compensates its trainers. Trainers are assigned to perform a variety of tasks that include assisting gym members, re-racking weights, completing administrative work, selling training sessions to members and conducting orientations for new members during a certain number of floor hours per week, according to the order. Primary compensation for the trainer comes from conducting sessions with members, and the trainer receives a percentage of the price charged to the member for each session actually conducted.


The judge’s explanation stated that “Evidence establishes that trainers were paid a percentage of the fee paid for the session. This fact would seem to indicate the existence of a bona fide commission compensation scheme.  Trainers were not paid the percentage upon negotiating and executing a sale, but only upon spending an hour with the client during the actual training session. There was no way for trainers to work more effectively or efficiently since the trainers were only able to earn their percentage by working an hour-long session with a client.  The compensation system was not decoupled from time. A one-to-one correlation existed between the hours a trainer worked and his or her compensation. Such a compensation system reflects nothing more than an hourly wage, where the employee’s rate of pay changes based upon his or her qualifications. This is not a commission.”


If you or someone you love has been wrongly denied proper wages and overtime pay for the hours they have worked, it is important that you contact one of our knowledgeable wage and overtime pay lawyers with The Higgins Firm. Our legal team understands that you work hard for your pay and we will help you gather any evidence for your case and then we will fight on your behalf to see to it that you are given any compensation that you are entitled to. We will also make sure that the company responsible is held accountable for their actions.


Please get in touch with us today online or by phone at 800.705.2121 to talk about the legal action you may be able to pursue.


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