First of all – I respect what you’ve got to say and I will respond to your legitimate concerns latter, but PLEASE get over all the minor “chicken ###” complaints you go into detail about – we’ve all got them, from Doctors to Lawyers to ambulance drivers. I am confused as to what you are trying to accomplish with this web log since you say you love working there? It sounds like you have been exploited, marginalized and unappreciated, to say the least.
Your description of the work environment makes it clear that it is very hostile and exploitative towards you. My suggestion is to find a new job – stop being a victim. I know this may be impossible or difficult in the current job environment but with the description of your good work you may be able to find a much more rewarding opportunity somewhere else. Try another Health club, YMCA, Hotel, Water-park or public pool where your efforts might be better appreciated.
I want to assure you that I am very familiar with the challenges you describe in pool operations and I am very experienced in the matter. However, I am skeptical that if the water temperature of the spas were above the legal limit that it was of “no concern" to the club management or the Health Department. State of Minnesota Health Department requirements clearly state that, “The maximum allowed temperature in a pool is 104-degrees (F)." There is no exception to this even if it is 104.1 - this is not typically dismissed as a minor issue and usually monitored closely during inspections. Pools routinely set their temperatures a good few degrees below this limit to avoid violations and legal/liability consequences.
I would assume that when they inspected the spas after your complaint, the temperature was in compliance or the inspector was either brand-new or did not measure it accurately (very unlikely) - otherwise they would have issued a violation. In any case the Certified Pool Operator should have reviewed this issue thoroughly with the inspector and reviewed the pool logs - what was their role in all this?
There should be a record - any inspection results in a paper record. In any case, I have never witnessed a Public Health Department inspector overlook this type of issue - ever. However, if you are truly concerned over the safety of the Spas, then an another potential problem you should check into is the accuracy of the SPA timers - 15 minutes is the maximum for shut-off but in my experience this is rarely accurate and is also a serious violation. It is also of immediate health concern, especially if the Spa temperature is over the allowable limits.
If you are serious about following through with your complaint, then I would recommend you condense your weblog into a compact, well written letter to the Corporate HR department - not your managers. I have seen many, many stupid decisions made in terms of safety, sanitation, and maintenance which ultimately have cost a lot of money ignored by on-site management. For further information or to file a an additional complaint with the Minnesota Health Department, I suggest you contact directly, Steve Klemm, swimming pool program, Minnesota Department of Health (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In regard to your company, respond directly to the Human Resources Department informing them of a potential harmful liability situation at the club in which you have tried to address repeatedly with management without adequate response:
1. You made a valid complaint to the Health department regarding Public Safety on the allowable temperature of the Spas, after informing management and receiving no action. The fact is that if the temperature was above 104 F and something did happen to a member, then your company could be sued - most likely successfully. In any case where a temperature above 104F and was measured during a routine inspection, it would most likely result in the SPA's being shut down by local Health Department until corrected. Provide current data to Spa temperatures to support this and if possible copy of Pool log.
2. Provide EXACT dates, time and description of the incidents involving the health club members you described requiring medical assistance. If possible provide the Spa temperature and response by management, yourself and authorities. Furthermore, any additional incidents since this time.
3. Also (very important) Inform HR department of your rights under Minnesota Whistle blower statue, 181.931, et seq. In which, “. . . an employer cannot discipline, threaten, discriminate or otherwise penalize an employee it they report a violation of federal state law or rule.” State your right to apply this law to your situation in terms of failure to receive a pay raise, equal consideration for promotion etc. You will need to provide documentation to support circumstances, dates, times; actions etc. or else don't bother. The operative word is "report" not prove - you were doing what you thought was best by reporting a violation – the burden of proof relies on the employer to account for any detrimental action toward you as a consequence of your reporting any perceived violations on your part.
4. If you can determine who the insurance company is for general liability on Life Time Fitness, then I would suggest a copy of all this be sent to them – but only if you have valid evidence. They will be most interested and in resolving the potential liability quickly.
I wish you the best of luck and hope you make the right decisions for yourself and the public. Thanks for making these issues known.