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LA Fitness to pay $90K to settle unpaid wages claim

LA Fitness has agreed to pay nearly $50,000 in unpaid wages and overtime to settle a Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit brought by four current and past employees.

The health club chain also will pay more than $40,000 in attorneys’ fees, according to a joint motion for settlement filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, which still must receive final approve from a judge.

The four plaintiffs worked as “personal training directors” or “assistant personal training directors” primarily responsible for recruiting new members, according to the lawsuit, filed in November. The employees were scheduled to work between 42 and 47 hours per week but regularly worked “well over” that amount, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claimed LA Fitness only paid scheduled overtime hours and set up its electronic timekeeping system so employees could not “clock-in” early nor “clock-out” late even if their work caused them to work extra hours at the beginning or end of shifts.

LA Fitness, in the settlement agreement, said it has records showing the plaintiffs were able to manually enter the number of hours they worked and that employees were properly compensated for overtime.

“However, Defendant does not want to incur the time and expense of litigation,” the settlement agreement states.

The plaintiffs also claimed they regularly worked through scheduled breaks and were not paid for attending weekly lunch meetings at their gyms or mandatory, biweekly regional meetings, according to the lawsuit.

In addition to FLSA, the plaintiffs sought damages under the Maryland Wage and Hour Law.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs sought to make the case a class action but the request was not ruled on before the settlement motion was filed.

Benjamin L. Davis III, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, declined to comment because the litigation is still pending. Davis is with The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl in Baltimore.

Representatives from Irvine, California-based LA Fitness did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company has 16 locations throughout Maryland.

The case is Gaines, et al., v. Fitness International LLC, 1:14-cv-03647-JFM.