Below are some of the many issues that affect health club operations. IHRSA provides information and resoiurces on each of the below, and when needed, advocates for the best interest of health clubs.
Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act: Federal law that requires companies to improve access and ensure equal opportunity for people with disabilities. Health clubs must be in compliance in two areas: employment and public accommodation.
Automated External Defibrillator (AED): IHRSA fights to ensure bills that mandate AEDs in health clubs provide health club operators and staff with adequate liability protection for both use and non-use, and contain reasonable stafﬁng requirements.
Bonding: States require bonding to protect consumers from financial losses due to a club's closing or failure to open. However, bonds create a barrier to entry into the market for health clubs and rarely protect the consumer dollar for dollar.
Consumer Protection: There are several ways in which consumer protection laws affect health clubs: (1) automatic renewal; (2) bonding; (3) “cooling off” periods; and (4) price caps and membership contract restrictions.
Employment Law: Employment laws and regulations are constantly changing, and club operators need to be aware of their increasing legal responsibilities, such as overtime pay, illegal discrimination, or wrongful discharge.
Facility Licensure: Legislatures have proposed laws that would allow state or local governments to enact regulations, establish licensing requirements, and administer club inspections.
Kids in Your Club: Clubs with camps, child care facilities, programming for children, and/or pools and spas are at risk for onerous regulations in numerous states that would affect who may be employed; or mandate the number of staff and amount of time staff must be present; and limit member access to the respective sections of the club. Access the IHRSA briefing paper "Kids in Your Club".
Locker Room Privacy & Security: Camera phones, theft, children in opposite gender locker-rooms and transgender rights are all sensitive legal issues for club operators.
Military: Several legislatures have passed laws that allow members of the military to suspend their club membership contracts if called into active duty.
Personal Trainer Regulation: Lawmakers often propose bills that would require personal trainers to be licensed (as opposed to independently certified) by the state in which they practice. They also impose stringent requirements for licensure, including expensive recurring exams and classes. Such policies make personal training more expensive for both club operators and members, and, ultimately, result in fewer trainers and a loss of revenue for clubs.
Problem Members: IHRSA offers some tips on the best ways to handle problem members.
Single Gender Health Clubs: IHRSA believes that single-sex facilities should be allowed to operate, as there is a legitimate gender-based privacy interest entitled to protection under the law.
Tax on Dues: Sales tax impositions raise costs for members and create a disincentive to health club membership and, therefore, threaten club dues and services revenue.
Tax-Exempt Competition: IHRSA advocates for the equal tax-treatment of for-profit health clubs and their not-for-profit competition.
Waiver Liability: Several state legislatures have proposed bills that would severely restrict health clubs’ use of liability waivers, increasing clubs’ risk of being sued.
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