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.”
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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.