NLRB sues 24 Hour Fitness for seeking to enforce class action ban

Posted on: May 16th, 2012 by Steve Larson

The National Labor Relations board announced it is charging 24 Hour Fitness USA Inc. with violating federal law by insisting all employment-related disputes be resolved by individual arbitration.  In a statement issued April 30, the NLRB said the San Ramon, California-based company, which operates fitness centers across the country, requires employees to agree in writing as a condition of employment to forego any rights to collective or class action lawsuits or arbitrations.  This violates the National Labor Relations Act, according to the complaint issued by the agency’s San Francisco regional office.

The NRLB said an investigation was prompted by a charge filed by an employee at the 24 Hour Fitness Center in San Ramon.  It said since at least summer 2010, the company enforced its no-class-action policy by asserting it in litigation brought by employees in numerous cases, seven of which are cited in the complaint.

The NLRB said in each case employees, who are not represented by a union, sought to bring workplace-related claims such as wage-and-hour violations on a class-wide basis, and in response, 24 Hour Fitness has sought to compel the employees to submit their common claims to individual arbitrations, citing the policy in its handbook.

The complaint calls for a hearing before an administrative law judge on June 11, and seeks an order that requires the company’s fitness center nationwide to stop maintaining and enforcing the portion of its policy that prohibits collective and class action, and to notify all judicial and arbitral forums in which it has opposed such action.