WASHINGTON, DC – Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb today announced that Ultimate Performance Fitness (UP Fitness), a personal training company, will pay $450,000 to trainers and the District to resolve allegations that the company failed to pay wages owed to trainers and improperly used a commission payment structure. Under the terms of a settlement agreement with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), UP Fitness will be required to pay $254,190 to over 30 personal trainers who were not compensated for required work time and who were routinely deprived of overtime wages. The company will also be required to pay a penalty of $195,809 to the District, cease its improper use of a commission payment structure for trainers, and ensure that employees receive overtime wages for any hours worked beyond 40 hours per week.
“Our investigation revealed that UP Fitness routinely failed to pay personal trainers for their work and failed to pay them overtime wages,” said AG Schwalb. “With this settlement, we are not only recovering unpaid wages and overtime for dozens of personal trainers—we are also sending a strong message to businesses that they can’t use sham commission compensation structures to shirk their legal obligations to workers. We encourage workers and others in our community to contact our office if they believe a business may be violating labor laws—we follow up on tips, and we are often able to reach positive resolutions for workers.”
“Walking into UP Fitness, I thought I was starting my dream job,” said Sean Ramsey, personal trainer and former UP Fitness employee. “All of the trainers were totally dedicated to our work and committed to our clients and their goals. I worked my way up to doing about 40 training sessions per week—but that meant I was actually putting in more than 60 hours of work, including attending meetings, keeping clients accountable, and creating progress reports. I wasn’t being paid for all the work I did outside of training sessions, and I never received overtime pay, even though I worked more than 40 hours almost every week. My coworkers were all in the same boat and we realized that something wasn’t right. It has been great working with the lawyers at the Office of the Attorney General. They listened to us and stood up for us. It feels amazing knowing that we will finally be paid for all of our work and knowing that other trainers who followed us at UP Fitness won’t go through what we did.”
UP Fitness operates personal training gyms at two DC locations. The company offers customized personal training and nutrition plans for each client. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) began investigating UP Fitness’s labor practices after receiving tips from the community.
OAG’s investigation revealed that UP Fitness paid its personal trainers an hourly wage only for time spent with clients in training sessions while failing to pay trainers for all other required work. Trainers were not paid for any time they worked outside of training sessions, including time spent creating custom workout plans and meal plans for each client, writing required biweekly progress reports for clients, responding daily to client questions and messages, and attending mandatory weekly administrative meetings and weekly continuing education sessions. OAG also found that UP Fitness failed to pay overtime wages to trainers who worked more than 40 hours per week—and most trainers had worked dozens of overtime hours for which they were not compensated.
UP Fitness claimed that it paid trainers using a bona fide commission structure, but this was not the case. Instead, trainers’ pay was directly tied to hours spent in personal training sessions, and employees did not receive any form of actual commission compensation. Under federal and District wage laws, true commission compensation structures—which are common in industries like real estate sales—must create a monetary incentive for workers based on their performance rather than hours spent working.
To resolve OAG’s investigation, UP Fitness must:
- Pay $254,190 to 30+ trainers. UP Fitness must now pay 30+ harmed DC workers unpaid wages (including unpaid overtime wages) and damages. Eligible current and former employees will be contacted by a claims administrator in the coming weeks.
- Pay $195,809 in civil penalties to the District.
- Change its compensation structure. UP Fitness will classify all of its trainers as non-exempt employees and will pay them overtime wages for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. Trainers will receive new compensation agreements explaining DC law and how they will be paid, and UP Fitness will track and appropriately compensate trainers for all time they work, including personal training sessions and all other required work outside of sessions.
- Take other steps to ensure compliance with District labor laws. UP Fitness will comply with all DC labor laws and will submit a detailed compliance report to OAG at the end of 2024. UP Fitness will also stop using non-compete agreements and will notify trainers who previously signed these agreements that they are no longer bound by them.
The full agreement is available here.
The matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Sarah Levine and Charlie Sinks; former Law Clerk Callie McQuilkin; and Section Chief Graham Lake.
OAG’s Efforts to Protect Workers
In 2021, OAG established the Workers’ Rights & Antifraud Section, which is dedicated to fighting wage theft and protecting District workers. Since gaining wage theft enforcement authority in 2017, OAG has secured over $21 million for workers and the District by bringing investigations and lawsuits against employers who violate District law. OAG’s wage theft enforcement efforts have focused on industries with high populations of vulnerable workers, such as construction, restaurants and hospitality, healthcare, and the gig economy. OAG also released a report about how worker misclassification hurts workers, undercuts law-abiding businesses, and cheats taxpayers. This past September, OAG released a Labor Day report highlighting efforts to protect DC workers. Click here to view a more comprehensive list of OAG’s legal victories standing up for workers’ rights.
How to Report Wage and Hour Violations
Workers who believe that their rights have been violated, or that they have experienced wage theft or other wage and hour violations, can contact OAG by calling (202) 442-9828 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.