An amended class action complaint filed against Equinox Holdings, Inc. alleges that the luxury health club chain frequently required employees to work more than 40 hours per week without overtime pay and failed to provide compensation for off-the-clock work.
The complaint, which has been removed to California federal court, alleges that Equinox paid its group fitness instructors and personal trainers an hourly wage for time clocked in while performing certain tasks, as well as a fixed piece rate when they completed an individual training session or group class.
The suit claims, however, that Equinox failed to compensate employees for the time they spent off the clock talking with prospective clients, setting up exercise programs, and meeting with their supervisors – tasks the complaint describes as “session-related activities.” The lawsuit says that because Equinox discouraged employees from recording their time spent performing off-the-clock work, the defendant’s time-keeping records were not accurate.
The lawsuit says that instead of paying proposed class members for every hour worked, Equinox averaged employees’ wages, meaning it made sure that their piece rate, when divided by their recorded hours work and time spent performing “session-related activities,” was equal to or greater than the minimum wage. The case claims this violates California statutes that make it illegal for employers to average employee compensation over hours worked to avoid paying for all hours.
Equinox also “repeatedly” stiffed its personal trainers on some training sessions and group fitness classes they led, the complaint says. The lawsuit further alleges that Equinox failed to provide its employees with full 30-minute lunch breaks and the 10-minute rest period required for every four hours of work – or the hour of premium pay California Labor Code requires in lieu thereof.
In addition, the plaintiff claims that Equinox promised bonuses to employees for accomplishing certain tasks yet often failed to pay these bonuses once the tasks were complete.
The suit seeks to represent a class of all personal trainers and group fitness instructors who worked for the defendant in California over the past four years. The complaint was originally filed in California’s Superior Court, but was removed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.