Planet Fitness engages in false advertising. The gym calls itself a "Judgement Free Zone." We found out the hard way that the staff/management of Planet Fitness are apparently free to do as much judging and discriminating as they please. Their "dress code" is clearly discriminatory and was not made clear when signing the contract. At Planet Fitness, the goal seems to be to get you sign the contract and let you find out on your own later what you supposedly agreed to.
My fiance joined the Planet Fitness location on Allentown Blvd. in Harrisburg, PA. At no time was he informed of a dress code policy - especially one that prohibited him from wearing a bandana on his head, which he wears often.
On several occasions, he wore the bandana without incident. Just last week, he was yelled at by one of the goon employees/managers for wearing it, informing him it was against their policy. When my fiance was understandably confused and informed him that he had worn it before without any problem and wasn't aware of any policy prohibiting it, he was told to remove it immediately or get thrown out. He removed it and finished his workout since I had already started, although I'm sure he would have rather just walked out.
After doing some simple research online, I have since come to find out that Planet Fitness does have a "dress code" that is apparently posted somewhere in the facility, although we never saw it. We were also never informed about the dress code when we signed up, and according to many other complaints I've read online, it isn't stated in the contract.
I don't feel that we were discriminated against for being forced to remove the bandana. If it is their policy that du-rags, bandanas and skull caps are prohibited, it should be enforced universally. However, I have a big problem with the existence of the policy itself. It is a clear attempt to discriminate against certain types of people that Planet Fitness has decided are undesirable - and I'm not just talking about the "lunkheads" they lampoon in their commercials. Clearly, Planet Fitness feels that racial, ethnic and religious minorities are not welcome.
Since putting up a sign that says "white people only" would generally be frowned upon, I suppose they had to come up with a slightly less obvious way to tell black people that their kind was unwelcome. Unlike other dress code no-no's, such as sandals, the prohibited head gear poses no safety hazard, which leads me to the conclusion that the only reason for the ban is that they don't want the kind of people who wear those items (black people) to be there. Or if black people still have the nerve to join, they'll be subjected to constant supervision to make sure they don't act too black around all the white suburbanites by wearing those scary things on their heads.
For the record, my fiance is white and wears a bandana to keep his shoulder-length hair from getting in his way. He looks more like a hippie tree-hugger than a gang member. In no way does his wearing a bandana make him appear intimidating or pose any threat to himself or others. Clearly, people like my fiance (white people with a preference for bandanas over baseball caps) did not inspire the dress code. It makes no sense. Only when you think about the "other" types of people who like to wear things other than baseball caps on their head does the intent of the dress code become clear. In the gym's defense, at least they enforced their stupid policy on my fiance even though he doesn't fit the profile of the type of person it was surely meant for.
I am truly surprised that this dress code is still standing. I don't understand how Planet Fitness can defend it. But from what I've read of other complaints, Planet Fitness isn't exactly responsive to their customers. In fact, they make every effort to keep their corporate office contact information secret. Hey, if you don't even let customers complain about a policy, I guess you don't have to defend it!
We will be canceling our Planet Fitness membership. However, from many of the other Planet Fitness complaints I've read, that may prove to be the source of my next complaint about them.