I checked in to the club at approximately 9:45 pm on September 7, 2011. As I was proceeding past the front desk, I heard Tom (one of the employees) say "Hello, how are you?" At first, I didn't realize he was speaking to me. Once I did, I turned around to nod hello to him and it was at this point that I saw him making obscene gestures behind my back and sarcastically commenting "I'm fine thanks. How are you? Great. Have a good night then!" Quite offended by his behavior, I responded "Go f*** yourself." In hindsight, I certainly could have chosen a more appropriate way to express myself, but I reacted without thinking about what I was saying. I proceeded towards the free weight area and put my headphones in.
As soon as I was in the free weight area, I noticed Tom proceeding towards me with Jay (the manager on duty) alongside him. Tom was very red, waving his arms, and I could tell by the movement of his mouth that he was screaming. I removed my headphones and heard Tom screaming that I needed to leave. I stood there for a moment and at this point, Tom was within inches of my face, screaming, pushing out his chest, and menacingly waving his arms. This occurred in front of several members who were working out. Rather than argue with him, I told Tom that I would leave if that's what he wanted, but that I would speak to his manager in the morning. I then started to walk towards the front door with Tom and Jay following behind.
As I got to the front desk, Tom once again stepped in front of me, preventing me from exiting the building. Once again, he began screaming, waving his arms, and puffing out his chest. I tried to step around him several times, but each time he stepped in front of me. At this point, Jay began telling him that it had gone far enough and he needed to stop. Jay had to physically move Tom away from me so I could proceed to the door. At this point, Tom started screaming louder and removed his LA Fitness shirt,. He was waving his fists and commented that he "didn't care" and that he would "quit his job right now ... and kick (my) f***ing a*s." This is, by legal definition, a assault. Fearing for my safety more than ever, I quickly exited the building while Jay was physically restraining Tom.
Once I was safely in the car and driving away from the building, I called the front desk and asked to speak to Jay. I asked Jay for the individuals name (Tom) and told him that having words was one thing, but Tom threatening physical violence was another matter. I told him that I should call the police, but instead, I would give the club manager a chance to handle the situation the next day. Jay apologized and said that he agreed that Tom went too far.
After speaking with someone at corporate member services, I proceeded to the Easton club to speak with Chris, the club manager. I recounted what happened and told Chris that at the very least, I would like to see Tom transferred to another club as I feared for my safety. Chris didn't express any concern whatsoever over his Tom's violent behavior. He proceeded to tell me that it was my word against his employees' word. He said that his employees would tell a different story if I continued to push the issue. In the version that he was going to coerce them to tell (coercion, which is a violation of the law), I was labeled as the aggressor. I asked him to call his employees over so I could hear for myself if they were willing to lie for him, but he refused. Then he said that Tom would not be transferred or terminated and that if I pushed for it through the corporate office, he would see to it that my membership was revoked (blackmail, which is a violation of the law). He assured me that Tom would stay away from me and that it wouldn't happen again. He then asked me if this was "acceptable." Since he threatened to revoke my membership if I pushed further, I told him: "I suppose so, but if Tom comes near me again, I will have him arrested." I later realized, however, that Chris was also going to input his bogus story into the computer system (libel, a civil offense) in order to protect his employee and his own job.
In sum, I was assaulted by an LA Fitness employee within the club and blackmailed by a club manager who clearly expressed his intent to engage in coercion should it become necessary. The employee who assaulted me received nothing more than a verbal reprimand and I received a black mark on my LA Fitness member record (via the bogus story that Chris entered in the computer). The latter constitutes libel and is a civil offense. At this point, my hands seem to be tied as I don't wish to lose my membership. However, I wanted to share my story with others so that you can be aware of how LA Fitness operates. Apparently, both criminal and civil offenses are fully acceptable within the confines of the LA Fitness corporate structure.