After the mass termination of all its staff, Steve Nash Fitness World (SNFW) is now facing more legal action in the form of a proposed class-action lawsuit.
The proposed suit is on behalf of about 1,200 employees who were suddenly terminated on March 24. It alleges their contracts were breached by failing to provide notice of termination without cause or payment in lieu of notice.
The suit seeks damages including individual termination pay of up to eight weeks’ of wages, and group termination payment of up to 16 weeks’ worth of wages.
Lead plaintiff Brenie Matute claims the company had been planning this and is using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse.
“I believe the termination is not because of the COVID-19 situation, I’m afraid it was pre-meditated and this is precisely why the case is going forward,” alleges Matute, a former group fitness instructor who is now teaching virtual classes from home.
None of the allegations have been proven in court and the company has not responded to multiple Global News requests for comment on the issues, including terminations and severance pay.
“Termination with absolutely no notification prior to that, no payment upon termination is definitely a surprise for everybody and it has consequences,” Matute said.
“People have lives, their livelihood was disrupted and their income certainly.”
Global News has also obtained a Notice of Intention to file for insolvency filed by the company. A title search of the company’s other brand, Crunch Fitness in Surrey, shows seven liens against the property all filed within the last two weeks.
In one example, the CFIB said a B.C. small business owner, who asked to remain anonymous and who had to file for insolvency due to the pandemic, took out an additional mortgage and paid the employees’ severance out of their personal bank account.
A stark difference from the situation former SNFW staff are in.
This latest lawsuit adds to a growing list of legal challenges against SNFW, including basketball great Steve Nash himself, who wants to have his name removed.
Last year a $20-million class-action lawsuit was filed by employees alleging they were not being paid properly. None of the allegations have been proven in court.
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