Management at a New Jersey LA Fitness fired three employees after reportedly giving two black patrons a hard time and asking them to leave the gym.
What’s the history here?
Two men said that they were racially profiled when they visited a New Jersey LA Fitness gym.
Facebook user Tshyrad Oates shared several videos to his page on Monday that featured the alleged incident at the Secaucus gym.
The videos have currently received more than 2.5 million views and 28,000 likes.
In the caption, Oates said that LA Fitness gym staff accused him and a friend of using the gym facilities without paying.
Oates’ friend was reportedly a member at the gym, while Oates was working out at the facility on a four-day guest pass.
Police arrived on the scene shortly after Oates and his friend attempted to correct employees who said that the two were working out without paying.
Police began to question the two as to why they were working out at the facility without paid memberships and eventually told the two that they’d have to leave the gym.
What did the video caption say?
The video’s caption stated:
Went to LA Fitness In secaucus to workout with my boy. I signed in under a 4day guest pass and he was already at the gym and a current member of the club. After about a half hour I was approached by this same employee telling me that I had to leave or pay and I explained to her that I just signed in with her with the guest pass. She stated that it was my friend who did not pay (unaware that her manager had already signed him in with his membership pass). My friend stated to her that he is an active and current member and that his gym tag was in his locker. He felt racially profiled and embarrassed by the harassment of this La Fitness employee in front of other members at the gym. We continued our workout and next thing we know 2 police men show up questioning us on why we were their with no memberships, we explained to them about our guest pass and rescanned my friend’s member tag and it resulted in current active statues. (The La Fitness employee did look at the computer screen that showed current member status and said nothing.) We again started our workout and 10 mins later an La Fitness manager told us to leave, we stated that we did not do anything wrong and have active current memberships. 2 mins later 5 police men show up asking us to leave. This La Fitness manager who refused to give us his reason to kicking us out, and refused to give us his name stated that I was banned from the gym and my friend’s gym membership has been terminated effective immediately. This is ridiculous and the last video sealed the deal.
What is the gym saying now?
According to NJ.com, the facility reportedly fired a manager and two employees involved in the alleged incident.
The outlet reported, “An employee who answered the phone at L.A. Fitness in Secaucus told NJ Advance Media the manager who appeared in the video recorded by one of the men has been ‘removed from the company.'”
The employee who answered the phone also reportedly said that two women who were working at the gym the night Oates and his friend were working out are “no longer employees.”
“I know the incident was really bad,” the employee reportedly said.
LA Fitness also told the outlet that the gym “apologized to the customer and made it clear that his membership is still valid.”
“Regrettably, our staff unnecessarily escalated the situation and called the police rather than work through it,” the statement read, according to NJ.com. “Clearly, this is a long time member with a current, valid membership. We want to clarify that no membership was cancelled and no one, including the member’s guest, was banned from the club. We have spoken to the member to apologize and assured him that he and his guests are welcome in our clubs at all times.”
Also, the company told USA Today that “the three employees most closely involved in the incident are no longer with us.”
Jill Greuling, who is executive vice president of operations for the gym chain, said, “Our staff unnecessarily escalated the situation and called the police rather than work through it.”
Grueling added that LA Fitness is “currently exploring potential training content and opportunities to better train our staff.”