By Meridian Lawyers
TO LOWER YOUR
n our new series of
articles which provides
legal guidance for
participants in the fitness
industry, we’re sharing
guidance from Meridian
Lawyers, who regularly
advise Fitness Professionals
to help them understand
their risks, roles and
responsibilities in an
increasingly litigious and
regulated environment. In
this article, Michael Bracken
and Greg Bawden from
Meridian identify some
of the risks involved with
operating as a sole trader.
Working as a Fitness Professional (FP)
can be a rewarding career, but the
responsibilities also carry a number of
substantial and potential legal and
With Summer often bringing an increase
in demand for the services of FP’s, now is
a good time to check that you, and your
business, are well protected. Personal liability exposure.
Am I at risk as a sole trader? In one example which occurred in 2017,
a personal trainer, and franchise gym
where he worked, made news headlines
when the gym was sued for $200,000
by a client who had to spend a week
in hospital after being injured during his
training session, despite complaining
about feeling unwell during his session.
It is not uncommon for FP’s to operate
their business as a sole trader as this
structure has a number of advantages,
being relatively cheap to establish,
offering autonomy in decision making
and it is easy to administer which makes
it an attractive option.
However, a sole trader business structure
also carries with it the obligation of
unlimited personal liability and lacks
some of the benefits of other corporate
structures in circumstances where your
business or sources of income grow.
Corporate or company structures can
provide an opportunity to limit some
legal liabilities and by not having the
benefit of limited liability a sole trader is
personally responsible, without a limit, for
the debts of the business and any claims
made against the business. This means
that all of your personal assets, including
any assets jointly-owned with another
person, such as a house, may be at risk
should a claim be made against you.
There are a range of business and legal
risks which fitness FP’s must navigate.
To make matters worse, the gym claimed
that the uninsured personal trainer was
not its employee, and therefore could be
personally liable for any damage.
This example and other similar cases,
illustrate how important it is to take
precautions to protect yourself, and be
proactive, as good intentions will not be
7 steps to help lower your risk.
1. Assess and be aware of the legal risks,
know your legal responsibilities, and the
legal standard to which you are required
to perform including professional
standards and guidelines. Overall, know
your client and manage the legal risk
having regard to the client profile.
WHAT’S NEW IN FITNESS - AUTUMN 2018