A judge has approved a $7.5 million settlement in a class action lawsuit against GoodLife Fitness. Roughly 22,00 employees of the Canadian fitness chain banded together in the suit, demanding $75 million in lost wages.
Former employees included in the settlement came forward in court to talk about their experience. They accused GoodLife of exploiting employees and cheating them out of working hours, saying they "systematically failed" to accurately compensate them.
According to CBC, GoodLife failed to accurately record their employee's working hours, and refused to compensate trainers for hours spent scheduling and preparing for client sessions. They also allegedly made it difficult for employees to receive payment for overtime hours.
Carrie Eklund, lead plaintiff and former trainer at GoodLife, recounted her "terrible" experience working at their Toronto location. "It was hard to just manage life, because you were working so many hours that were off the clock that it was compromising the hours you were with your clients," she said.
In addition to the $7.5 million settlement, GoodLife was also pressured to give their employee practices a major overhaul. They've recently come forward with three improvements to their employee compensation policies.
First, GoodLife will be scheduling paid hours for personal trainers to "prospect" new clients. They'll also be adding an extra two and a half hours of pay on every paycheque, dedicated to completing administrative work. They've also modified the fees on trainers' commissions for new clients.
Of the $7.5 million, the bulk of it will be granted to the personal trainers at GoodLife, who suffered the most from unpaid hours. The final settlement may not be nearly as much as their original demand, but the lower amount means that members of the lawsuit will be paid quickly.