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Legal Perspective for a Hybrid Fitness Model

Customer Success Team
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This post has been written by our friends over at Conscious Counsel, a leading law firm that empowers fitness businesses with a better way of working with the law.

Wellness professionals are moving their businesses from in-person to online, thanks to the current global pandemic.

Whether you have a website, a mailing list or are offering online classes, it's important to limit your risk with a waiver of liability and to adhere to privacy laws with a privacy policy, terms and conditions, and disclaimer.

The use of a service agreement will also clearly outline what people can expect from your services.  

Below are legal agreements you should think about acquiring when teaching your classes online:

Waiver of Liability

This document is a must have for anyone who facilitates yoga, wellness or other physical activity. 

It explains the risks and possible outcomes of participating in activities with you, and allows clients to absolve you of liability.

Without a customized and professionally drafted waiver of liability, there is a high likelihood that your waiver will not be enforceable, which defeats the purpose of having a waiver in the first place.  

Fitness trainer marking down attendance of students

When someone signs a waiver of liability, they forfeit their legal right to hold you liable for what might happen when they are in your care.

Waivers protect your company, or instructor, from being sued if someone gets injured under your care. 

  • Parties: Between your business and people partaking in your services
  • Purpose: to waive liability
  • Who needs it: Businesses where there is risk of injury

Privacy Policy, Terms and Conditions, and Disclaimer

When you operate your business online, it's important to outline how you collect personal information and everything else involved with a person’s use of the website, in order to comply with privacy laws and clearly outline what people can expect from your services.  

Since websites collect user information, you’ll want to be open and honest about what you’re going to do with it and where you’re keeping it.

This gives web visitors a choice about the personal information they share and helps them avoid ‘spam’. If your site uses third parties, you’ll want to communicate their privacy policies as well. 

Fit couple attending a live stream yoga class

A privacy policy outlines how a business, website, or person collects, uses and discloses personal information that they receive about people.

Terms and Conditions are the rules your visitors must agree to in using your website and buying your products and services.

Some of the common items you’ll find in terms and conditions or terms of service include:  

  • Copyright
  • Purpose
  • Links to third-party websites
  • License to use materials
  • Limitation of liability, disclaimers
  • No guarantees.

A disclaimer is any statement that is used to specify or limit the scope of obligations and rights that are enforceable in a legally recognized relationship.

A social media disclaimer is important to keep your business protected from the activity that takes place on your social pages. 

Disclaimers are important to protect your customers. Since you are advising people in using your business services, you’ll want to be open and honest about your qualifications, what services you are providing or what is in the product that you are selling.

Make sure to be realistic about the outcomes your customers can expect by including a ‘no guarantees’ clause, otherwise dissatisfied customers could file a claim against you and your business.

Privacy policies are required by several regulations (such as California Online Privacy Protection Act, Privacy Shield, EU General Data Protection Regulation, Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule) any time you collect personal information (like email address, billing info, phone number, etc.) from website visitors.
  • Parties: between business and people using your website
  • Purpose: to explain how personal information will be used, and DISCLAIMER
  • Who needs it: anyone with a website

Service Agreement

This agreement sets the terms and conditions for service between you and your business clients and individual customers, and can prevent misaligned expectations.

The terms can include prices, offerings, refunds, policies, and anything you would like to include. 

  • Parties: between business and the people using your services
  • Purpose: to clarify the business relationship
  • Who needs it: businesses who provide services
Well suited female lawyer taking down notes at her desk

Without these legal agreements, you run the risk of being sued and held liable for data breaches, improper use of personal information, and losing the trust of your clients.

Just downloading a generic privacy policy template or terms and conditions template does not adequately protect your business.

You should ask your legal counsel to help you draft these legal documents in order to operate your business with peace of mind.

With Love & Protection,

Cory Sterling

Download the Free Legal Checklist to ensure your business is at best legal practices: https://consciouscounsel.pages.ontraport.net/legalchecklist

Cory Sterling is the founder of the heart-leading law firm Conscious Counsel, a lawyer, yoga teacher, and group fitness instructor. He wrote ‘The Yoga Law Book’ and has served hundreds of yoga, fitness & wellness professionals and studio owners around the world. He won the award for "Highest Rated Session" at MindBody Bold and stays committed every day to teach about the law in a FUN and practical way.

Wish to expand your fitness business to both online and offline? Check out Bookee's Hybrid Playbook or click on the button below to know how.

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