Starbucks announced it will conduct trainings after one of the chain’s employees called the police on two Black men who were waiting for a friend. However, with a quickness, LA Fitness fired a number of employees who participated in the racial profiling of two Black men — one of whom was a member for eight years. Maybe Starbucks should take a cue from LA Fitness.
As we reported yesterday, on April 16, Tshyrad Oates and his friend went to an LA Fitness in Secaucus, New Jersey. Oates was attending on a four-day guest pass and his friend had been a member for eight years. For some reason, the management at LA Fitness thought these two men were illegally using the gym. According to Oates’ Facebook post, “After about a half hour I was approached by this same employee telling me that I had to leave or pay and I explained to her that I just signed in with her with the guest pass. She stated that it was my friend who did not pay (unaware that her manager had already signed him in with his membership pass). My friend stated to her that he is an active and current member and that his gym tag [sic] was in his locker. ”
His friend’s membership was rescanned and showed “current active statues.” Nonetheless, the authorities were called and five police officers showed up. Thankfully, the officers did not react like the police at the Starbucks in Philadelphia, but his friend’s membership was canceled. Tshyrad provided video, see below:
LA Fitness responded to the incident by releasing a statement to NJ.com which read, “Regrettably, our staff unnecessarily escalated the situation and called the police rather than work through it. Clearly, this is a long time member with a current, valid membership. We want to clarify that no membership was cancelled and no one, including the member’s guest, was banned from the club. We have spoken to the member to apologize and assured him that he and his guests are welcome in our clubs at all times.”
In addition, all three LA Fitness employees who appeared in the video have been fired. NJ.com also reports, “An employee who answered the phone at L.A. Fitness in Secaucus told NJ Advance Media the manager who appeared in the video recorded by one of the men has been ‘removed from the company.’ The employee, a salesman who would only give his first name Josos, also said two women who were working that evening and badgered the men are no longer employees.”
Good move on behalf of LA Fitness—and let’s hope the two men are properly compensated for being racially profiled. From New Jersey to South Carolina, there have been lawsuits that have resulted in multi-million dollar settlements for the victims. Employees need to be fired, but companies also need to know racial profiling will cost them.