2017 is almost here, and people across Minnesota are making their New Year’s resolutions. One popular New Year’s resolution is to get into shape. For many this means signing up for a gym membership. However, a federal investigation has found that one major chain of gyms with locations in Minnesota and 25 other states has committed minimum wage law violations.

Life Time Fitness, a gym chain based in Minnesota has been ordered to pay over $976,000 in liquidated damages and back pay to 15,000 workers in all of its locations. This is following a federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division determined the gym chain broke federal minimum wage laws.

The investigation revealed that the company deducted uniform costs from the workers’ pay, resulting in the company paying the workers less than the mandatory hourly minimum wage, which violates the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA.) Employers are permitted to deduct the cost of uniforms from a worker’s paycheck, but this must not result in the worker being paid under the federal minimum wage. In addition to the damages and back wages the company must pay, Life Time Fitness must also provide its managers with formal training on the FLSA.

Some locations affected by this situation include the Fridley, Minnesota location, the Lakeville, Minnesota location and the Roseville, Minnesota location. In Fridley, 87 workers are due back wages totaling $2,757. In Lakeville, 240 workers are due back wages totaling $7,895. In Roseville, 36 workers are due back wages totaling $1,247. Nationwide, 15,546 workers are due back wages totaling $476,329.

The federal minimum wage laws protect workers from being taken advantage of by employers who try to cut corners by paying workers less than the hourly pay that they are owed. It is important to hold employers who violate the FLSA accountable, as seen here, to keep such violations from happening in the future.

Source: wowt.com, “Life Time Fitness $976K in back minimum wage, Omaha employees impacted,” Dec. 8, 2016