Health Club Owners: Know Who You Are Hiring!

Health Club Owners: Know Who You Are Hiring!

Health clubs, fitness centers, and even smaller gyms usually include both employees (those who are paid by, and under the direction and control of their employer), and independent contractors (those who are usually paid on a non-salary, set compensation basis, and not under the direction of an employer).

These two types of workers will likely be mingling with the health club’s customers on a regular basis. They may include sales people, fitness instructors, maintenance staff, and massage therapists. Thus, it’s important for health club owners and managers to know who they are hiring.

Here are a few hiring tips for health club owners and managers to lower their legal risk liability regarding employees and independent contractors:

– Perform criminal background checks.
– Hire only those who possess the necessary certifications, education, and training.
– Supply employer-provided liability insurance for all employees.
– Confirm that all independent contractors provide proof of liability insurance.
– Make certain that employees and independent contractors are clearly differentiated.

These are just a few tips for health club owners and managers to consider. Most health clubs are used by a wide variety of people, including more vulnerable populations such as older adults, people with disabilities, and children. Thus, it is very important for health club owners and managers to ensure the safety of all its customers, as well as limit its own legal liabilities.

Thomas Margolis is a licensed attorney.

Hurt At The Gym – But You Signed A Release…Now What?

Waivers of Liability – (Release of Responsibility)

Members of fitness centers are all familiar with the part of their contract that says that the gym, gym staff, etc., are not liable for injuries sustained by members. So, the average gym member assumes that the Waiver is ironclad, and that they have no legal options against the fitness center.

In the state of Wisconsin, for example, waiver of liability agreements are disfavored, and to be upheld, the agreement (contract) must withstand very close scrutiny. The Wisconsin Supreme Court stated, “each exculpatory contract (waiver of liability) that this court has looked at in the past 25 years has been held unenforceable.” This does not mean that all such waivers are unenforceable, but if the court finds that the waiver is contrary to public policy, it will probably be invalid.

What It Means If You Are Injured

Health club members should know that despite signing a waiver or release of liability, they may still have a very good, actionable case against the negligent health club ownership, health club management, or health club employees such as trainers.
So, If you do get injured in a gym, health club, or fitness center, contact attorney Thomas Margolis.

As a former business owner in the health and fitness field, Medical Exercise Specialist, Personal Trainer, and Fitness Counselor for more than 12 years, personal injury lawyer Thomas Margolis has a thorough understanding of the fitness industry. Since Attorney Margolis has experienced all aspects of the workings of the health club/fitness center industry, he understands the legal issues associated with gym injuries from the plaintiff’s side (gym members), as well as the legal issues associated from the defense’s side (gym owners, managers, fitness trainers, and other fitness professionals working with gym members).

Personal injury lawyer Thomas Margolis can help you to assess your gym injury case. Contact Margolis Law today.

Thomas Margolis is a licensed attorney.

man lifting weights at a gym

Gym Injuries May Be Actionable Legal Cases

There are 30,500 gyms and health clubs currently doing business in the United States. Approximately 58,000,000 health club members engage in some form of exercise within those U.S. gyms and health clubs annually. Most gyms provide free weights, exercise machines, various aerobic equipment such as treadmills, elliptical machines, and stationary bikes, as well as locker room facilities. All of these elements of a typical health club require constant inspection and maintenance by qualified staff. Some health clubs do a great job of keeping their facilities clean and safe – some do not. Additionally, many clubs offer personal training services to their members. There are 273,500 personal trainers working in U.S. health clubs. The personal trainers in your gym might be certified, they might not be. They may possess a great deal of expertise regarding fitness issues, or they may possess very little. Trainers are oftentimes perceived by gym members to be fitness “experts.” Trainers will oftentimes present themselves to members and potential clients as experts when they are not. So, what could possibly go wrong?

Well, between 1990 and 2007, more than 970,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for weight training-related injuries. In 2012, an estimated 459,978 people were injured while exercising or using exercise equipment. Keep in mind, those are only gym injuries that were reported.

Before becoming an attorney, I worked in health clubs for over 12 years. I worked in several different club settings, such as a very large, well known chain of health clubs, an independent gym, a corporate gym setting, and a condominium gym setting. I was certified as a Personal Trainer, Fitness Counselor, and Medical Exercise Specialist. I also managed a health club, sold memberships, and gave orientations. I have experienced and am familiar with virtually every aspect of the business of fitness.

Now, I am a licensed lawyer. As such, through this blog, I hope to educate health club members and health club staff on various legal issues pertinent to each. I want health club members to understand that if they get hurt in a fitness facility, they may have an actionable legal case against the fitness facility, even if they signed a waiver. As a personal injury lawyer, I encourage health club members who sustain a gym injury to contact me for a free consultation. I also want to educate gym owners, staff, and trainers in regards to managing risks and limiting liability. I also encourage those employed in the health club industry to contact me regarding personal injuries occurring in their facilities. I can provide legal defense, or as a preventive measure – consultations to owners and staff to educate on how to provide a safe and less risky workout environment.

Thomas Margolis is a licensed attorney.