Boston — April 30, 2018 — Health club owners entered this industry to help others achieve their health and fitness goals, but they often also take on a number of other roles.

They are owners, but they are also inspectors, making sure membership contracts are in shape. They are peacekeepers, ensuring members are happy even when there are disagreements over equipment use, locker room use, dress code, or anything else you could possibly imagine. And they are supervisors, caring for the safety and satisfaction of their members and staff, and the continued health of their business.

With all of these things going on, getting derailed or blindsided by a discrimination lawsuit—or even the threat of one—is something no club operator wants. So, the best way to avoid a lawsuit when terminating or reprimanding a member is by being prepared for difficult situations or problem members before they become an issue.

This is where IHRSA comes in. IHRSA provides its members with a multitude of legal resources that address club operators’ pressing legal questions, and we are excited to announce the release of the newest addition to IHRSA’s legal library.

The Managing Difficult Situations Fairly and Legally briefing paper was designed to help club operators prepare for and quickly address questions such as:

  • What if a member is caught stealing from the locker room?
  • What if a member files a harassment claim?
  • What if a member violates the dress code?
  • What if two members begin to argue over a difference in political beliefs?
  • What if a member wants to pray?

These “what ifs” make up the storylines to the bad dreams that keep health club operators awake at night. IHRSA members can rest easy, knowing IHRSA’s public policy team works with attorneys and does a significant amount of additional research to address these “what if” scenarios. This legal road map outlines situational examples that operators can use to determine how to address similar instances where member behaviors or actions have been called into question in their club. And while consulting an attorney might still be necessary after reading this and other IHRSA briefing papers, this paper might serve to lessen the related attorney fees.

After all, our job is to elevate the industry and the role that health club businesses play in creating a more active world. Helping clubs eliminate worries and manage problematic situations is part of our daily routine...and so is challenging those “what ifs” with the “so whats” that allow us to pursue every outlet for advancing the industry and healthy habits.

IHRSA’s legal briefing papers cover a wide range of topics, including employment law, harassment, injury liability, hiring independent contractors, and overseeing kids in your club and are available exclusively for IHRSA members to download on the IHRSA website. It is important to note that the information contained within these documents should not be considered legal advice. Members with questions after reading should contact IHRSA public policy or share the briefing paper with an attorney that is qualified in their area of concern. Sharing this information with an attorney will save club operators a significant amount in research costs charged by legal professionals.