Government regulators have been targeting yoga studios in New York, fining them for various infractions, according to a published report.
The New York City Department of Buildings fined studios for not having a proper permit and the state’s Labor Department audited studios that listed their instructors as independent contractors instead of as employees, The New York Times reports.
Yoga studio owners are complaining that the government agencies are looking for ways to make money from an industry that earns an estimated $6 billion a year in the United States, according to the Times.
"Agencies are suffering," J. Brown, the owner of Abhyasa Yoga in Brooklyn told the Times. "They think they can reinterpret statutes and apply them to yoga."
At least two studio owners say they were fined by the Buildings Department for failing to have a physical culture establishment permit, a requirement of businesses the agency considers health clubs. One of the studio owner's was fined $800, the Times said.
The Labor Department audited at least three studios for not listing instructors as full-time employees, the Times said.
Leo Rosales, a spokesman for the agency, told the Times that the status of employee-employer relationships at yoga studios are assessed on a case-by-case basis. "There are no statutory guidelines specific to yoga studios," he said.
Many yoga instructors teach classes at several studios, which would incur costs if they classified the instructors as employees.
"Equating yoga centers with gyms or weight loss salons is a little like equating a painting by Rothko with a billboard sign," Alison West, the executive director of Yoga for New York told the Times.
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