LINDENHURST, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has announced an agreement with LA Fitness to better accommodate those with disabilities.
Claudia Ciatto, of the Epilepsy Foundation of Long Island, filed the complaint after her 22-year-old son, who is diagnosed with epilepsy, signed up for a gym membership at a LA Fitness location in Lindenhurst.
According to the complaint, her son’s aide, who is required to accompany him while exercising, was denied access to the gym unless he also paid a fee — even though the aide did not intend to use any equipment in the facility for personal use.
“A general manager, who was extremely rude — he told my son ‘you can not come in with someone else unless you pay extra fees,'” Ciatto told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall. “I specified that we were told that my son would not have a problem and he said ‘well, that employee should have never told you that.'”
“I said, ‘well what would you prefer, that he has a seizure in your gym without somebody there to help him?” she added.
According to the complaint, Ciatto’s son was forced to cancel his membership due to the facility’s refusal to waive the fee.
“I’m always very shocked when they treat other people with disregard based on their ability level,” Ciatto said.
Following and investigation by the Attorney General’s office, California-based Fitness International, LLC has agreed to allow free access to all aides accompanying disabled patrons to their 29 New York facilities. Ciatto’s family was also awarded a free 18-month membership and $5,000 in relief, according to a statement released by Schneiderman’s office.
LA Fitness said in a statement that what happened in Lindenhurst was an isolated incident and the agreement reaffirmed their policy of not charging caregivers.