Trainer asked teen if she was 'sexually active'

By Nicole Barratt

Photo / iStock
Photo / iStock

A male gym trainer asked a teenage girl in a personal training consultation if she was sexually active.

The 17-year-old girl, who spoke to the Herald on the condition she would remain anonymous, said she was asked the question in November after signing up to an Auckland Club Physical.

"It was the free session when I first joined and he [the trainer] was asking questions like how much I work out and how well I eat so he could make my programme. Then he asked if I was sexually active."

She said she tried to laugh it off, but the trainer probed her further and followed his comment with: "So are you?"

The teenager recalls feeling uncomfortable but said she did not tell anyone about the question asked as she "thought it was normal".

Club Physical chief executive Paul Richards said clients should never be asked questions regarding their sexual activity in personal training sessions.

"It has nothing to do with it ... I've run the gyms for 30 years and I've never heard of this happening."

He said when a client attended a personal training session after signing up to a Club Physical, goals were discussed, blood pressure was checked and medical conditions recorded.

"Nowhere do any of our questions mention sex."

If a member felt a trainers' behaviour was inappropriate or unwelcome, they should report it the branch's manager or go directly to Mr Richards himself, he said.

Mr Richards said the incident would be taken very seriously and a memo would be sent out to all Club Physical staff.

He would ensure all branches were notified to ensure the incident would not be repeated.

Workplace lawyer Max Whitehead said sexual harassment was in the eyes of the victim and the law recognised that, but this incident was "way out of line" in his view.

To qualify as sexual harassment, the harassment generally had to be repeated, and the victim must tell the harasser to desist.

"Whether this incident qualifies as sexual harassment I'm unsure, but it could very well [qualify]."

Mr Whitehead said employees must be extremely careful what they ask of their clients.

He added that knowledge of the teenager's sexual activities had "absolutely no benefit" in this situation.

There are eight Club Physical gyms in New Zealand. Seven are in Auckland and one in Kaitaia.

- NZ Herald

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