Sexual Harassment at the Gym

How to Stop Sexual Harassment at the Gym

Working out with a personal trainer may lead to sensitive, vulnerable situations for the instructor and the client. Sometimes, what should be a professional relationship turns into sexual harassment for the personal trainer.

Whether you’re a client or a personal trainer, you should never tolerate inappropriate behavior. A sexual harassment attorney can explain your rights and help you hold the harasser accountable. 

Recognizing Sexual Harassment During a Workout

Personal training may require touching, and trainers and clients will often become friendly with one another. However, training sessions should still abide by professional boundaries. For example, personal training shouldn’t involve:

  • Touching beyond what’s appropriate and comfortable for both sides
  • Unwelcome, excessively personal questions
  • Inappropriate remarks about the trainer’s appearance
  • Explicit text messages or emails, including sharing images of a sexual nature

What  to Do If You’re Experiencing Sexual Harassment

If a training session leads to a situation that makes you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, remove yourself from this position as soon as possible. Contact the police if the harassment escalates to sexual assault. 

However, harassment can be so subtle that you may wonder whether you’re overreacting. If you aren’t sure whether you’re experiencing harassment, you can discuss your situation with a trusted person, consult a sexual harassment lawyer, or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline

If You’re a Client

If you feel your personal trainer crossed the line, you can (and should) stop working out with them at once. Even if other people might consider their behavior acceptable, you’re within your right to seek a different trainer if it bothers you

Assuming you’re working out in a gym, report the situation to the trainer’s supervisor or manager. Management should intervene on your behalf, investigate the trainer’s behavior, and discipline them if necessary. They should also provide an acceptable solution, like refunding your money or offering a different trainer. 

If resolving the situation independently doesn’t work out, talk to a sexual harassment attorney. You could sue the gym or the trainer, and the fitness instructor who harassed you may lose their license.

If You’re a Personal Trainer

You may also experience sexual harassment from a client as a personal trainer. For example, a client could touch you in an inappropriate manner or repeatedly ask you out during training sessions, even though you’ve made it clear such requests are out of place.

If you’re self-employed, you could simply drop the offending client. However, if you’re a fitness center employee, you may need your manager’s approval. Report the situation to your employer, including as many details about the harassment incident(s) as possible, like the time, date, and precisely what the harasser said or did. 

Your employer is responsible for maintaining a safe, harassment-free environment. This may involve speaking to the client to stress the gym’s anti-harassment policies, transferring them to another trainer, or revoking their membership.

If your employer fails to address your complaint, consult a workplace harassment lawyer. An attorney for sexual misconduct will let you know what steps you can take next.

The Cifarelli Law Firm: Legal Counsel for Harassment Claims in Irvine, CA

Did you experience sexual harassment during a personal training session? The Cifarelli Law Firm provides legal aid for harassment cases in fitness training situations, whether you’re a professional or a client working with a trainer. Our legal team will explain your options under California law and work hard to protect your rights.

Call 949-409-6324 or contact us online for a free consultation with a sexual harassment attorney in Irvine, CA.

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Irvine, CA 92618

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