The lawsuit against Crunch is the latest in fitness industry wage and hour litigation Photo by Thinkstock

The lawsuit against Crunch is the latest in fitness industry wage and hour litigation. (Photo by Thinkstock.)

Crunch Trainers Allege Unpaid Wages in Lawsuit

Two trainers claim that Crunch did not pay them for 15 to 21 hours of work each week for various club-related duties, according to a New York Post report.

Two trainers have filed a class-action lawsuit against Crunch, New York City, over unpaid wages, according to a New York Post report.

Arielle Jernigan, a former trainer at the New York City Crunch on East 59th Street, and Kadeem Johnson, who remains employed at the club, filed the suit in New York state Supreme Court in Manhattan on behalf of 30 to 40 other Crunch trainers, according to the Post report.

The trainers allege they performed 15 to 21 hours of work each week of various club-related duties that Crunch did not pay them for in violation of state law. The plaintiffs are suing for up to $200,000 in lost wages plus additional damages, according to the Post report. The complaint in the case was not available through online court records, and Club Industry's phone calls to the court to obtain the complaint went unanswered.

The Jernigan and Johnson case is the latest in fitness industry wage and hour litigation.

In March, a class of more than 80 personal trainers seeking a jury trial in federal court against a Gold's Gym franchisee group over alleged unpaid overtime wages scored a legal victory in the case. The judge ruled that the defendant, Gold's Texas Holdings Group Inc., cannot use an exemption in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to defend itself against allegations of employee misclassification should the case go to trial.

In February, Equinox Holdings Inc. settled a class action lawsuit for a maximum of $4 million brought by former employees who alleged the company failed to pay them fully or provide breaks.

In January, a federal judge in Illinois denied a group of four former Life Time Fitness personal trainers' motion for conditional class certification in a lawsuit alleging unpaid minimum wages. That case is currently stayed pending the outcome of private mediation, according to court records.

The number of federal wage and hour lawsuits rose in fiscal year 2015 to an all-time high of 8,781 cases, a 7.6 percent increase from fiscal year 2014, according to federal data shared by Seyfarth Shaw LLP law firm on its wage and hour litigation blog. The firm anticipated more wage and hour lawsuits in 2016.

"In federal court, employers are more likely to face wage and hour claims than any other form of employment litigation," they wrote.

Changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) white collar exemptions could be coming later this spring. Kara Maciel, the labor chair of Conn Maciel Carey PLLC's Employment Practice Group, shared insights on the potential impact to the health club business in a Club Industry webinar earlier this month. The free webinar, "Wage and Hour Mistakes Plus Solutions That Could Save Your Health Club Millions of Dollars," is now available for on-demand viewing.

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