Houston Personal Trainers: Independent Contractor or Employee?

As the New Year’s resolution lists are compiled, it is safe to say that many may include weight loss or the desire to become healthier.

Go-getters flock to the gyms or enlist the help of a personal trainer to help them meet their fitness goals. While we encourage all of our readers to stick with their resolutions, we also want to encourage those in the fitness industry to pay close attention to their paychecks, to ensure they are receiving fair wages.

The reason being is that the lawyers in our office have often seen Houston personal trainers misclassified as independent contractors.

Some employers misclassify as a way to avoid having to pay employment taxes on their workers, since independent contractors are responsible for withholding and paying their own taxes to the IRS.

But what many employers fail to tell the trainers is that according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the employer has little to no control over how the trainer decides to complete their “contract.”

While they vary based on individual situations, contracts between gym owners and trainers can be anything from the trainer agreeing to train one person all the way up to teaching a class of many people.

For example, suppose Get Fit Gym has ten members who are interested in hiring a personal trainer for five sessions each, and another 40 people who want to take a spinning class. Get Fit Gym establishes a contract with Peter, a regular employee, to train the ten people and also teach a spinning class three days a week.

Peter sets individual appointments with the ten individuals and uses his own weights and mats during the training. The individuals pay Get Fit Gym as part of their membership dues, and Peter is paid once all ten people complete their five sessions.

Get Fit Gym requires Peter to show up Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 10am until 12pm, to teach the spinning class. He uses the gym’s bicycles and sound equipment. He is paid a flat rate at the end of each month for teaching.

Both situations may seem fair, especially if Peter is making a fair wage. But under the rules of independent contracting, Peter should actually be considered an employee and not a contractor while teaching the spinning classes for the following reasons:

  1. The employer required Peter to come and go at specific times
  2. Peter was required to use the employer’s equipment

One could also argue that since Peter already has an established relationship as an employee of Get Fit Gym, it is more likely that he should not be working as an independent contractor.

Sometimes the lines between independent contracting and employment can be confusing, which is why it is important to consult with an experienced Houston fair wage lawyer if you feel you are being misclassified as an independent contractor in Texas.

Contact the lawyers at Kennedy Hodges, LLP at 888.449.2068 today for a free consultation and complimentary copy of their book, Ten Biggest Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Wage and Overtime Claim, as well as a complimentary case evaluation. Call us at 888.449.2068 today.