“Fitness Club Members Only”: He Is A Guide Team Member…So He Is Fine.

Generally, courts have defined a private membership club as “an association of persons for social and recreational purposes or for the promotion of some common object ….” Quijano v. University Federal Credit Union, 617 F.2d 129, 131 (5th Cir. 1980)

Jonah has been guiding me to the gym most days since we returned from guide dog school graduation. Recently in the locker room, a fellow patron looked at Jonah and commented, “I see we have a new member.”


A club is an association of people who have a common cause or interest. The important point is that these bodies are “unincorporated associations” and have no legal identity, unlike a company or partnership. As a result they can only act through individuals, usually their officers or members of its management committee.

Jonah’s workout was getting me through the streets safely. He was then free to nap next to the elliptical strider a nine while I got my exercise. He figured that there was no need for his own gym membership. After all, the only reason he was even there was that he dutifully complied with my requestI, “Jonah, find the locker.”


Who may become a member is defined by the rules; however, the rules on membership must not breach the legislation relating to race, sex, religious and sexual orientation. Simply stated, in the private club industry, a little “discrimination” can go a long way in avoiding potential lawsuits based on discrimination!

Another bloke laughed and remarked, “Maybe you are here on HIS membership.” Since Jonah was responsible for me getting to the gym without injury or harm, I thought perhaps our status was a TEAM MEMBERSHIP.