Posts Tagged ‘wrongful termination’

Fitness trainer settles wrongful termination lawsuit

Why fitness centers need Employment Practices Liability insurance

A fitness trainer settled his claim that he was wrongfully terminated by his employer, Best Fitness for $32,500. Salvatore Rachuna alleged he was fired because of complaints he made about a manager who repeatedly made inappropriate and lewd remarks in the presence of Best Fitness customers.

Rachuna was hired by Best Fitness in 2008 and worked in various positions in their Tonawanda, N.Y., and Erie, Penn., locations. In 2012 he began working under a new manager. His lawsuit claims that his supervisor repeatedly made “sexually advancing” comments regarding Best Fitness members and employees, both male and female. Rachuna’s complaint states the manager regularly discussed male genitalia size and the sexual activity of others and told sexual jokes about underage females.

Management’s response

Rachuna complained to the corporate vice president of personal training, who just happened to be the manager’s wife. He reported that he was uncomfortable and the behavior disruptive to the workplace. The only action she took was to tell Rachuna to “push back” anytime the manager, her husband, conducted himself inappropriately. The manager’s inappropriate behavior continued, so Rachuna made a formal complaint to the Best Fitness chief executive and human resources director in August, 2012. According to Rachnuna, his termination on Sept. 9, 2012 was a retaliatory action against his repeated complaints.

This case was one of two discrimination cases against Best Fitness arising from alleged actions of the Best Fitness manager. A separate complaint filed by a former group fitness director is pending. None of the complaints named the manager as a defendant.

What management can do

Defending against such claims can be costly. Employment practices lawsuits of this nature highlight the need for fitness centers to purchase Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI), which can be purchased on a stand-alone basis or as part of a Directors & Officers Liability policy. EPLI policies generally cover the big three: discrimination, sexual harassment, and wrongful termination/discipline, plus a host of other employment related offenses.

If you are interested in a quote for this coverage, contact Sadler Sports & Recreation Insurance or any other aspect of Fitness Traininer insurance. We will provide a simple form to complete that will allow us to provide you with a quick quote.


Source: Lisa Thompson, “Erie fitness center settles lawsuit,” Erie Times-News. 17 Aug, 2014.

 

 

Directors & Officers Liability Insurance for Leagues/Associations

When a General Liability policy isn’t enough

Directors & Officers Liability insurance for sports organizations covers certain types of lawsuits that are not covered by the more common and better known General Liability policy. General Liability covers certain lawsuits alleging bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, and advertising injury.  Directors & Officers Liability typically covers the following broad classes of lawsuits:

  • Discrimination based on race, sex, age, or disability
  • Wrongful suspension or termination of league personnel or players
  • Failure to follow own rules or bylaws when making an administrative decision
  • Violation of rights of others under constitutional, federal, or state law
  • Financial mismanagement

The Directors & Officers Liability policy pays covered legal defense costs. It also pays up to the policy limit in the event of settlement or adverse jury verdict.

Over the past 10 years, the types of claims that are potentially covered by the Directors & Officers Liability policy have increased dramatically as the public has become more litigious. The most common categories of lawsuits include disability discrimination under the Americans With Disability Act (ADA), player eligibility disputes, and league administrators not following their own rules or bylaws when making decisions. We have also seen claims involving breach of contract (usually excluded by most policy forms), race discrimination, violation of expression of religious freedom, failure to make all-star team, improper coaching resulting in loss of college scholarship, violation of Sherman Anti-Trust/Restraint of Trade, internal board disputes (usually excluded by most policy forms), injunctive relief to halt a tournament due to player eligibility issues (often not covered by most policy forms), etc.

The Directors & Officers policy form varies greatly from one carrier to the next. As a result, a detailed review is required to uncover dangerous exclusions that would take away essential coverages. Some important policy provisions include employment practices liability and 3rd-party liability, including discrimination. Unfortunately, most insurance agents are not competent in this area. The insurance experts at SADLER SPORTS & RECREATION INSURANCE can easily guide you through such a review.

Call us today at (800) 622-7370.