California Gym’s Under-30 Discount Upheld

     (CN) – A chain of California health clubs does not discriminate against older customers by offering lower fees to millennials, a state appeals court ruled.
     Daniel Javorsky argued that Western Athletic Clubs’ Young Professional program violated California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act by offering a lower rate to customers in the 18-29 age range.
     He sued WAC, which operates 10 luxury fitness clubs in the San Francisco Bay area, in 2013.
     A Young Professional member paid $140 per month to work out in 2013, while an older member would pay $55 more.
     WAC responded by saying that the Young Professional program is cheaper because of younger members’ limited financial resources. Its expert stated that local residents in their 30s through 60s had more income than those in their 20s, according to court records.
     Javorsky countered with an expert of his own, who stated that the subset of residents between the ages of 25 and 29 had more income than some other five-year subsets of residents.
     The San Francisco County Superior Court agreed with WAC that its program was reasonable, and the First District California Court of Appeals upheld that decision in a ruling written by Justice Henry Needham Jr.
     “Because persons ages 18 to 29, as a group, have less income than persons age 30 and over, providing lower prices to persons ages 18 to 29, as a group, is not arbitrary,” Needham wrote in the Dec. 11 opinion.
     Needham also countered Javorsky’s argument that the Young Professional program promotes “ageism” and the stereotype that “young is better.”
     “Offering a reasonable discount to a particular age group does not suggest the group is better than another,” he wrote on behalf of the court’s three-justice panel. “Even if it did, the Young Professional program in this case does not communicate malice, hostility or damage to persons over 30; and persons ages 30 to 64 have not, as a group, been historical targets of discrimination or irrational stereotypes.”

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