A Vancouver woman has filed a class action lawsuit against Steve Nash Fitness World, claiming the company failed to pay her properly.
According to Sharon Freeman, a group fitness instructor who worked for the company for several years claimed that the company has been taking advantage of employees since it merged with another gym. Freeman claims that the company’s actions were “shocking” and that she “felt betrayed.”
Freeman’s class action suit includes current and former non-managerial employees that worked for Steve Nash Fitness from July 2017 to July 2019. The lawsuit claims hours were and continue to be improperly recorded for employees. Freeman is seeking $20 million in damages.
The company is also accused of “systematically ignoring” its employment contract and did not properly pay employees for holiday time and over time, and paid employees the wrong wages for hours worked.
The lawsuit alleges that these mistakes were an intentional effort to increase its profits.
Freeman claims she is owed more than $15,000 over the last two years, but because of British Columbia’s Limitation Act, she cannot sue for wages she is owed beyond that period of time. Freeman worked at the gym from 2004 but did not notice until November of 2018 that she had been paid improperly for holidays.
She asked the company’s payroll department to check into the matter and later determined that she was not the only employee who had been paid improperly.
There is a separate investigation underway by the ESB looking into multiple complaints about the company.
In addition to improper pay, Freeman’s lawsuit also alleges that the company has engaged in employee intimidation in retaliation for Freeman inquiring about her legal options.
According to Freeman, when Steve Nash Fitness learned that employees were discussing pay and other issues, the company questioned them about their involvement. Freeman claims she was harassed, followed around, and that people were trying to get information about what she was doing. She also says she was told by a superior in the company that other employees had complained about her.
Freeman was ultimately forced to attend a disciplinary meeting with HR, during which she was denied her right to a third-party witness. At the meeting, she was accused of violating multiple company policies and harassing co-workers.
Freeman claims she was forced to seek medical attention for the anxiety the situation caused her.
Steve Nash Fitness Denies Wrongdoing
Steve Nash Fitness World issued a statement claiming that the company compensates employees fairly and in accordance with the local laws. It claims to be aware of a former employee making claims against it and denies all wrongdoing and stated it will defend itself against all claims.
Steve Nash Fitness is named for Steve Nash, a basketball player who was raised in Victoria. Nash himself took the company to court several years ago to have his name and brand removed from the company.
Freeman is hoping that her lawsuit, as well as the others that have been filed against the company, lead to lasting change. She believes her case highlights how the company’s bottom line is more important than its employees and she wants to show that by speaking up the mistreatment can be stopped.