Request Legal Help Now - Free


Equinox $36 million settlement for California Wage and Hour Lawsuits

. By

A California judge has approved a $36 million settlement of two wage and hour class action lawsuits against Equinox Holdings Inc.

Alameda, CAEquinox has agreed to pay $36 million to resolve two California labor lawsuits alleging the fitness company required more than 15,000 employees to perform pre-shift work without pay and to skip meal breaks. The settlement, which resolves California state and federal actions, covers those who worked for Equinox in California between April 3, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2022.

One case is Renee Porter, et al. v. Equinox Holdings, Inc., Filed in the Alameda County Superior Court, it was an action under California’s Private Attorneys’ General Act (PAGA), which allows employee lawsuits seeking civil penalties for State of California for Labor Code violations. The second, Fodera class action, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and brought under California’s Labor Code. Both cases were consolidated for settlement purposes.

Plaintiffs Renee Porter, Joshua Tolin, Frank Fodera, Michael Bonella, and Genevieve Billson, who all worked as non-exempt employees of Equinox in California, filed actions in early 2019. In May 2022, U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick certified a class of thousands of California-based fitness instructors who alleged numerous California labor law violations.

Both cases alleged that the high-end gym club had a policy of not paying certain California employees, including personal trainers, group fitness instructors and other positions, for all time worked. Plaintiffs claimed they were compelled to contact and recruit potential customers, or "leads," to sign up for fitness classes before and after their shifts, reported Law360. Plaintiffs also challenged Equinox’s policies regarding meal and rest breaks, wage statements, and other wage and hour practices. 

The trainers and instructors claimed they were all paid on a session rate base that didn't reflect the time they worked outside their shifts, including calling potential clients. In other words, Equinox failed to pay for pre-and post-shift work after they taught classes or provided personal training. As well, Equinox failed to provide them with accurate wage statements or allow them to take rest breaks while teaching a training session or class.

The plaintiffs’ attorney told Law360 that, “This settlement is a hard-fought victory that will return tens of millions of dollars to past and present Equinox employees in California…We were focused on taking these important wage claims to trial, which is what allowed us to obtain this significant victory for class members.”

Equinox has 23 clubs in southern California and nine in Northern California. Across the pond, its London gym clubs may be in trouble. According to the Evening Standard, the company posted an £18 million loss and warned on its future in the UK -- that there was ‘material uncertainty’ as to its status as a going concern and it was reliant on funds from its larger US parent to continue trading. Those funds would be minus $36 million.

The cases are Fodera Jr. et al. v. Equinox Holdings Inc. et al., case number 3:19-cv-05072, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, and Porter et al. v. Equinox Holdings Inc., case number RG19009052, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Alameda.


California Labor Law Legal Help

If you or a loved one have suffered losses in this case, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to an employment law lawyer who may evaluate your California Labor Law claim at no cost or obligation.


Please read our comment guidelines before posting.

Note: Your name will be published with your comment.

Your email will only be used if a response is needed.

Are you the defendant or a subject matter expert on this topic with an opposing viewpoint? We'd love to hear your comments here as well, or if you'd like to contact us for an interview please submit your details here.

Click to learn more about

Request Legal Help Now! - Free