Complaint Against Las Vegas Club Goes to AG

Las Vegas — The Las Vegas Athletic Club (LVAC) may no longer be able to offer free enrollment to women if it does not do the same for men. The Nevada Equal Rights Commission (NERC) has forwarded to the state's attorney general's office a complaint about the club's occasional free enrollment promotion offered to women but not men.

The complaint is actually one of three filed against LVAC by Todd Phillips. NERC determined the other two complaints were not justifiable, says Chad Smith, executive vice president of LVAC.

NERC reviews complaints and then forwards those it deems justifiable to the attorney general's office. Smith was to meet with the NERC and Phillips late last month as a formality, but he didn't expect a resolution at the meeting, which occurred after press time.

LVAC normally charges a $99 enrollment fee, but during special promotions, it offers free enrollment to women and a $10 enrollment to men.

The bad debt or failure on membership fees are higher for men than for women, Smith says, so the company incurs fewer costs with women, which justifies giving women a bigger break on the enrollment fee. However, Smith says that he will now offer free enrollment to men at least once each year during these special promotions.

One of the unjustified complaints filed against LVAC was related to the club's women-only areas. The LVAC offers a women-only workout room with trainers who have education in women's health issues. The women-only area also includes a sauna and steam room. The club used to have sauna and steam rooms in the men's locker rooms but closed those due to inappropriate behavior. However, Smith says he did not want to penalize women for that inappropriate behavior, so he kept the women-only sauna and steam room.

Phillips' third complaint was that LVAC retaliated for his complaints by revoking his membership. However, Smith says that Phillips agreed to management's offer to release him from his two-year contract due to his dissatisfaction.

Smith is concerned about the repercussions a ruling against his club might have in the state. If his club cannot offer discounts based on gender, then other types of businesses also would not be allowed to offer discounts based on gender, he says, adding that the decision might also affect discounts for age.

For now, Smith is holding tight, saying he owes it to his female membership not to fold because of one complaint. However, Smith says the club will abide by whatever decision the attorney general makes.

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