Did Planet Fitness Boot a Pregnant Woman Because of Her Belly?
byKaitlin StanfordApr 29, 2014
At 18 weeks pregnant, it can take some major motivation to hit the gym and get on a treadmill. But for South Carolina mom Melissa Mantor, it was all part of her regular routine. Her latest trip was different, though—in more ways than one. "It was the first day that I was visibly pregnant," she told The Daily Mail.
It was also the first day she was approached about what she was wearing.
"I was on the treadmill," she continued, "when a female employee came up to me and said, 'I'm going to have to ask you to leave, you are in violation of the dress code.'" (Talk about mortifying.)
For the record, this is what Mantor was wearing—an outfit, she notes, she'd worn many times before:
The incident, which went down at a Planet Fitness in Charleston, S.C., didn't end there. Mantor says the woman told her, "I'm going to have to send you home to get changed because your belly's hanging out, and I need to get it covered up." To which Mantor responded, "'Of course my belly is hanging out, I am pregnant.'"
But the employee didn't seem to think that was a good enough reason for a little extra skin exposure. Instead, she handed Mantor a large, black T-shirt to cover herself up. "People around me were shocked," said Mantor, who is also the mom of a 3-year-old. "The girl next to me asked, 'Is this really happening?'"
Despite being visibly upset, Mantor finished her workout and went home. After mulling it over, she called the gym and tried to speak to a manager, but got no response. So the next day, she hopped in the car and headed back to the gym to cancel her membership altogether. That's when she was told yet again that her choice of workout attire was "not appropriate for gym members."
While the gym insisted it had nothing to do with her belly, and rather that string tank tops are in direct violation of the dress code, Mantor countered that she has worn that very same tank to the gym for the last three years—without incident. What's more, she's even donning that same tank in her membership photo. And while she does admit that the top "rides up" from time to time, it isn't much and never seems to bother anyone.
The gym has since tried to reach out to Mantor and apologize, even offering a free membership. But it seems to be too little, too late.
"I can't go to a gym where they would make someone feel bad about themselves when they are trying to stay in shape," she said.
"It's hard enough to get motivated as it is, without being made to feel like my body is offensive and that I'm dressed inappropriately."
What do you think of the gym's reaction? Did they overreact, or are they within their rights?