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Fitness company to pay more than US$950,000 for breaking wage laws

Life Time Fitness has agreed to pay almost US$1 million (€943,103; £792,487) to thousands of its employees in back pay and damages after a US federal investigation found the company guilty of breaking minimum wage laws at its health clubs and fitness centres in 26 states.

An investigation by the US Department of Labor found that Life Time Fitness, a subsidiary of Healthy Way of Life Company, took deductions for uniform costs, which resulted in workers making less than the required federal minimum wage per hour, which is US$7.25.

Investigators found the law had been broken at:

- Fridley, Minnesota: back pay of US$2,757 owed to 87 employees- Lakeville, Minnesota: back wages of US$7,895 due to 240 employees

- Roseville, Minnesota: back wages of US$1,247 owed to 36 employees- Corporate-wide: back pay of US$476,329 due to 15,546 employees at clubs and centres in 26 states.

The fitness firm will pay 15,909 employees US$976,765 – US$488,228 in back pay and a similar amount in damages.

Karen Chaikin, the Department of Labor's regional administrator for the wage and hour division in Chicago, said: “The US Department of Labor takes its responsibility to ensure workers receive the wages they have earned very seriously. This agreement will put thousands of dollars where they belong – in the pockets of hardworking people and their families. This comprehensive agreement will ensure Life Time Fitness locations nationwide comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act and that workers take home their rightfully earned pay.”

David King, the division’s district director in Minneapolis, said: “While employers are allowed to take deductions for the cost of uniforms, those deductions cannot bring an employee’s earnings below the federal minimum wage. Employees who have faced similar deductions or employers who have questions about how to comply should give us a call.”

Life Time Fitness said: “This matter initially arose due to a now former requirement that employees purchase their uniforms upon employment. We recognise our team members are the most critical element to our business and the member experiences and services we deliver day in and day out. As such, we not only voluntarily stopped this practice more than a year ago but also exceeded the requirements by purchasing a uniform for each new employee upon hire.

“We are pleased to have reached a resolution with the Department of Labor that was acceptable to all parties and to continue providing positive experiences for our team members.”

Life Time Fitness operates 122 leisure centres and clubs in the US and Canada.

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Life Time Fitness has agreed to pay almost US$1 million (€943,103; £792,487) to thousands of its employees in back pay and damages after a US federal investigation found the company guilty of breaking minimum wage laws at its health clubs and fitness centres in 26 states.
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