Protect Your Gym With a Code of Conduct

Protect Yourself With The Code - an umbrella sheltering from rain

By Andrea Savard, Certified Two-Brain Fitness Business Mentor

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me this question: “Can you fire a coach for sleeping with a member?”

My first response is always, “Do you have a code of conduct?” 

Most gym owners don’t even know they need one until it’s too late.  

A code of conduct simply outlines the behavior that is required to be in your community—as a staff member, client or volunteer. Your code should adhere to and reflect your country or region’s human-rights code and laws. It should also state that failure to follow gym’s code will result in action—usually removal from the community and a denial of service.

Here is what our gym code states:

FirePower Code of Conduct—Our organization respects and follows the letter and spirit of the Ontario Human Rights Code. We support and protect the dignity and worth of everyone. We provide equal rights and opportunities for all employees, clients and volunteers. We do not tolerate harassment or unwelcome comments and actions. We will take prompt action if such problems occur, including failure to follow any rules or regulations, for reasons of nuisance, disturbance of others, moral turpitude or fraud, or if we determine that your actions may endanger yourself or others.  

Your code of conduct must be included in your membership terms and conditions, staff agreements and playbook, and it must be on your website. Sing about it from the rooftops! People feel strongly about aligning with ethical and moral businesses. 


Rely on the Code


The first time you rely on the code instead of your own personal opinion, you’ll feel like you’ve hit the jackpot! 

Last year we had to fire a client who violated people’s right to a safe and moral workout environment. This person was also negatively impacting the mental health of people in our community. When inquiring members came to ask why the client was let go, the conversation was very professional and short: “She didn’t meet the code of conduct for membership.” No further questions were asked.  

If you need to release or give a warning to someone, the conversation becomes simple: “Your actions do not meet the code of conduct that you agreed to. We do not feel we can effectively provide you a professional level of service going forward.”  

Dealing with bad behavior can be very emotional. But when you’ve calmly created a code of conduct, clear expectations and standard operating procedures before an incident, you won’t react emotionally or scramble when trouble arises. You’ll just follow a plan based on your values. That approach will be better for you and your community.

If you don’t have a code of conduct at your gym, create one today.

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