Planet Fitness Judged in Court: Trans Locker Rooms Violate Consumer Protection Laws
A woman who sued Planet Fitness after the gym giant terminated her membership for complaining about their transgender bathroom policy was won an important ruling in Michigan Court of Appeals.
“[The appellate court] pretty much ruled that we won based on the Michigan Consumer Protection Act,” said attorney Dave Kallman in an interview. “We’ll be filing our motion in the next two to three weeks … [and] be heard by the end of September, early October.”
Yvette Cormier sued Planet Fitness for invasion of privacy, sexual harassment, breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and Michigan Consumer Protection Act violations after she complained to management that a man was changing in the woman’s locker room, and the company retaliated by terminating her membership.
“Front desk staff at the gym dismissed Cormier’s complaints, telling her Planet Fitness’ policy is to allow members to have access to whatever locker room corresponds with their self-identified gender,” according to Life Site News. “The company’s management backed that up.”
Her case was thrown out by the Midland Circuit Court, and then by the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Michigan Supreme Court agreed with most of the holdings of the lower courts, except her Consumer Protection claim, and bounced the case back to the Court of Appeals, which ruled in Cormier’s favor.
The Consumer Protections claim will be re-heard by the Midland Circuit Court, per the ruling of the Court of Appeals. The invasion of privacy, sexual harassment, emotional distress, and other claims were deemed meritless. Those claims, particularly the emotional distress claim, have a very high legal threshold to be considered legitimate.
If Cormier wins her case in the Midland Circuit Court, she will not win any monetary damages, but Planet Fitness will be stuck with the legal bill and important precedent will be set. The case could allow others who are uncomfortable being forced to share a locker room with the opposite sex to consider their legal options under their states’ Consumer Protections laws. The same could happen in federal courts if similar subject matter is evaluated there.
“We commend the Michigan Supreme Court in this decision against Planet Fitness which is endangering women by allowing men in the women’s facilities and punishing those who object,” said Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, a legal non-profit that promotes religious freedom. “This is a safety issue for women who understandably do not want to share a locker room with men. This is also discrimination based on sex and violation of state law.”