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Gym owner fires pregnant employee because her 'performance is slipping.' 'AITA?'

Gym owner fires pregnant employee because her 'performance is slipping.' 'AITA?'


"AITA for firing a pregnant employee?"

Here's the story:

Hello. I (38F) own a gym. I have five instructors who work for me, as well as myself and my boyfriend who instruct classes. There was one employee, "Erica", who told me that she was pregnant, but that she wanted to continue instructing classes for as long as possible.

She, like all of my other employees, are not full time employees-they get paid per class. Erica has a full time job as a preschool teacher, and she originally would come here after work 4 times a week to teach two classes a night, as well as Saturday mornings, and sometimes Sundays, depending on need.

All classes are about an hour and a half-I expect my employees to get here 15 minutes before their class starts and stay 15 minutes after at least. They are paid $20/class.

Early on, Erica told me that she was going to be dropping one of her Thursday classes, which began at 7:30. Her reasoning was that it ended too late-she said that after class and cleaning the gym (the last class of the night needs to clean/close up the gym) she wasn't getting out until about 9:00/9:15, and she was too tired.

I allowed her to drop the class, but since this was her assigned shift I couldn't find anyone else to agree to cover it, and because of this I had to take over her class, meaning I was at the gym from open until close.

The next incident happened a few months later. While instructing, it is policy for our instructors to wear a shirt with either the name of our gym on it, or just plain black. I came into the gym while Erica was instructing to find her wearing an olive green tank top. I pulled her aside and reminded her to please wear a shirt with the gym's logo on it.

She responded that none of them that she had fit over her belly anymore. I did not believe this-I had seen her wearing shirts that she had been wearing pre-pregnancy at this point. But all I told her was that she could also wear a plain black shirt; to which she replied (a little annoyed) that this was the only shirt she had available at the moment, and she thought dark green would be close enough to black.

I told her no, if our policy was 'black or dark green' I would have told her that, and it wasn't a surprise she would be teaching a class that day, so she should've been prepared. I could tell she was annoyed by this, and the rest of her class her energy was definitely off.

The last straw happened a few weeks after that. I got a text from a member at 5:55 (class began at 6) that nobody was at the gym and she couldn't get in. I called Erica to see where she was and she said that she was running late, and that she'd be there in 10 minutes.

Since I expect my employees to be there 15 minutes early, this would make her 25 minutes late. I told her not to bother, that if she was going to continue to let her performance slip there was no need for her to continue working for us. Was I the AH?

Here's what top commenters had to say:

kaibac18 said:

Full stop. You pay them $20 for 1.75 hours of work and have that high expectations? YTA for sure.

eaca02124 said:

YTA. And firing the employee is waaaaay far down your list of offenses. You are the a#@hole for:

Paying $10/hour for people to teach classes at your gym. Seriously? That's just above minimum wage, not a living wage, and you ALSO expect the last instructor of the night to clean things and close up? I am amazed you have instructors.

Being totally inflexible in dress code policies, to the point of interrupting a class over them. Would it so much kill you if an instructor wore a blue shirt one time? Could you not wait until class was over? What problem does olive green cause for your business, exactly?

If you want people to wear a uniform, you need to provide it, and you need to make sure it comes in acceptable sizes, and even then, you need to consider some flexibility, like letting the person teaching hot yoga strip down to a tank top, or accepting that, especially given that your instructors are underpaid as heck, they will sometimes run into laundry issues.

Relying on instructors who you pay shit to make sure the gym is open.

Sometimes an employee does not work out, and you let someone go. But, gyms require personnel to run, and you, as the owner of said gym, might want to reconsider some of your choices.

dookle14 said:

gasp One of your employees was late to a class one time and had the, the wear a dark olive shirt instead of a black shirt to her class?

You were spot on to interrupt her in the middle of her class to correct her on her choice of shirt. This was most definitely an urgent matter and not something that could have waited until after the class was over.

How dare she ask to change her schedule in advance and trick you into agreeing to it. I’d definitely hold that against her for some reason, too. I mean, you are paying her the generous wage of $10/hr. Your benevolence should be reciprocated with undying loyalty and complete compliance. Any minor issues that some may call life happening should be met with severe penalties.


imgoingoutside said:

YTA. For a couple reasons. Here’s one: If you expect employees to be there 15 minutes early, then 15 minutes early is the new “on time” and that’s when their shift starts and when you should start paying them.

And soggycedar said:

YTA $20 for 2-3 hours plus planning is not enough to deal with your dumb rules and judgement about what shirt she wears, plus the obligations to open/close the gym.

Sounds below minimum wage and should be illegal if it isn’t.

Do you agree with commenters that the gym owner is the a&&#^le here? Or do you think she had any right to fire her employee over her "slipping" performance?

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