A Planet Fitness in Midland, MI, revoked a woman's membership after she told other female members about the company's no-judgment policy that allows transgender people to use the locker room of their choice. In turn, the former member is suing the national fitness chain for damages in excess of $25,000 on each of seven counts.
Yesterday, Yvette Cormier filed a 15-page summons and complaint against the Planet Fitness franchisee and corporate Planet Fitness, Newington, NH, in the Midland County Circuit Court in Michigan. Cormier's membership was canceled on March 4 after she told female members of the gym that transgender people are allowed to use the locker room of their choice at Planet Fitness. Cormier had been in the locker room on Feb. 28 when a person who she thought was a man entered the women's locker room. She reported the person to the front desk and was told that the individual was transgendered and could choose the locker room she self-identified with. Cormier stated in the complaint that she wasn't aware of the club's policy, and as such, Planet Fitness breached her contract.
McCall Gosselin, public relations director for Planet Fitness, says that as a matter of policy, her company does not comment on pending litigation. Her company, however, stated that it is committed to creating a non-intimidating, welcoming environment for its members, and that its gender identity non-discrimination policy states that members and guests may use all gym facilities based on their sincere self-reported gender identity."
Gosselin also stated: "The manner in which this member expressed her concerns about the policy exhibited behavior that management at the Midland club deemed inappropriate and disruptive to other members, which is a violation of the membership agreement, and as a result, her membership was canceled."
The complaint claims that the Feb. 28 locker room experience and the revocation of her membership caused Cormier to suffer damages such as "loss of use of gym facilities," "fear about using the gym facilities," "embarrassment and humiliation," "severe emotional distress" and "damage to reputation."
The complaint includes seven counts: invasion of privacy, breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, exemplary damages claim and three violations of the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act on Sexual Harassment.
In an article on WNEM.com, Cormier stated that Planet Fitness' policy on gender identity "creates a hostile and offensive environment for women and children," and "allowing a transgender woman into the locker room is an invasion of privacy that also impedes on civil rights."
The case has been assigned to Judge Michael Beale. Cormier's lawyers, Kallman Legal, have set up a page on their website to share details about the case.