Gym Owner Monthly

Sexual Abuse at the Gym: Who Is Liable?

Gym operators, trainers, staff, or other trainees can be liable for sexual abuse at the gym. Sexual abuse can involve just one incident of abuse or a series of abusive behaviours and acts. Examples of sexual abuse at the gym include undesirable sexual advances, jokes, hints, suggestions, offensive comments, or the display of pictures that target a person because of his or her sex.
 
The severity or prevalence of the sexual abuse could influence which damages the victim will recover. The more severe the abuse, the bigger the punitive damages the victim is likely to get through his or her personal injury lawyer.
 

Who Are the Potential Victims of Sexual Abuse in a Gym Facility?

Trainees, clients, and visitors to a gym facility can be victims of unwelcome sexual conduct by trainers, employees, or patrons.
 
Sexual abuse can also happen at gyms that offer children or youth training programs or a child watch area.  This could include any sexual conduct, verbal or nonverbal, welcome or unwelcome, towards a minor. Parents can help children and minors identify and report incidents of sexual abuse by educating them about touching boundaries and body parts.
 

What Steps Can a Gym Operator Take to Prevent Sexual Abuse?

The responsibility of preventing sexual abuse in a gym lies with gym operators. They should ensure employees understand what sexual abuse entails and how to handle clients or other employees professionally. An effective way to achieve that is by offering sexual abuse training to their staff. They can also create an efficient complaint process and act promptly and appropriately when a client, trainee, or staff complains.
 
A gym operator should ensure his or her business has developed and implemented the right policies to minimize the odds of sexual abuse of trainees, clients, and visitors, including children and minors. He or she can achieve this by ensuring everyone at the gym has a copy of a written anti-sexual abuse policy and a clear safety policy for preventing molestation of children and minors.
 
The gym operator should also perform thorough background checks on all employees, including those handling children or minors. If a child is sexually abused, parents can bring a civil lawsuit against the culprits to expose them and keep them from hurting other children and minors.