London-based GoodLife Fitness has wrapped up a $7.5-million class action lawsuit by agreeing to pay employees for extra work and overtime.
GoodLife settles class action suit by employees
This week a Toronto court approved a mediated settlement that was reached back in March writes lfpress.com
Josh Mandryk of Goldblatt Partners LLP in Toronto was one of the lawyers who launched the lawsuit in October 2016.
He said the settlement sends a message of “behaviour modification” for major employers, obliging them to treat employees fairly if they want to maintain a positive public image.
Mandryk said it’s also a big financial boost for the GoodLife workers. The settlement covers about 22,000 current and former workers in clubs across Canada, dating back to Oct. 2014. Mandryk estimates a personal trainer who worked during the entire period covered by the settlement would receive about $2,500.
“This is precarious work in a tough industry. These are not high-paid folks. Getting a cheque for hundreds or even thousands of dollars will make a big difference for them,” he said.
Mandryk said GoodLife deserves credit for making significant changes to its payment policies and practices even before the settlement was reached, addressing the grievances in the lawsuits.
That included scheduled paid time for selling services to new members, removing the clawback of their commission, and payment for preparation and administration time.
“That’s really what made the settlement possible. As these changes came along ... a lot of the claim became historical, it wasn’t for ongoing damages,” Mandryk said.
The representative plaintiff was Carrie Eklund, who worked as a personal trainer in a GoodLife club in Toronto.
“I started this class action because I believed GoodLife employees deserved to be paid for all of their hard work, and the changes this claim encouraged and the settlement money to be paid to the class go a long way toward that goal,” Eklund said in a statement released by the lawyers.
Mandryk said it took a lot of courage for GoodLife staff, especially current employees, to join the class action and provide information.
“We had hundreds registered on our class action database. These are non-unionized workers stepping forward and putting themselves on the line,” he said.
Most of the settlement – $5.5 million — will go to personal trainers with the rest going to club-opening specialists, fitness advisers and other GoodLife employees.
The settlement does not apply to employees of Fit4Life, GoodLife’s discount brand, and a small number of franchised clubs.
About 650 workers at 42 GoodLife clubs in Toronto, Ajax and Peterborough have joined the Workers United union. For those workers the settlement only covers the period prior to the first collective agreement last December.
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