Alright first off, I'm not looking to press charges on anyone. I just need to know if this is what happened.
I work at a health club (Lifetime Fitness if anyone is familiar). Last night, we had a tornado warning in our county. It is Lifetime policy to tell all members that they must go into the locker rooms if they wish to remain in the club. We also tell them that they may leave at their own risk.
The loud speaker announcement was, exactly, "Attention all Lifetime Fitness team members and guests. Dupage county currently has a tornado warning. At this time, all occupants must retreat to their respective locker rooms if they wish to remain in the building. You may leave the building, at your own risk, if you wish to do so."
That announcement was made several times. I had been working at the pool so I had been clearing people out of our area much earlier since lightning was leading in front of the storm. I was going to leave, but all my coworkers were frightened and wanted me to stay. I stayed until the end of my shift and had enough, so I left. There was a lot of rain and lightning outside, but the wind wasn't bad by us. I had received several reports that the funnel clouds had been sighted in the lower part of the county (Dupage is a rather expansive county), and that the wind were not high by me.
On my way out, I walked past a physical trainer who said to an older couple "No you can't leave right now. We don't let anyone out during a tornado warning." So... I turned around and walked back to him and asked him if he was telling people they couldn't leave. To see if I had misunderstood him. I did not. He repeated that during a tornado warning, he doesn't let ANYONE leave the building.
At that point we moved off to the side of everything and I explained to him that he couldn't do that. At no point did any member of the club sign a contract stating that they would agree to be locked into the club for any reason.
Well I got a phone call this morning from my boss telling me that I was in trouble and that this matter had to be sorted out. The trainer was the assistant manager of the workout floor (which I knew), and according to them it was not my place to say anything to him. I disagree. I would have told our GM the same thing. It was illegal to keep people there against their will. Not to mention, what would have happened if those people would have gotten hurt in some kind of accident after they hadn't been allowed to leave?
I'm sure I'm going to get yelled at for disagreeing with someone in a higher position than me at the club, but I need some legal advice on this. Was this false imprisonment? And if so, if they had been injured afterward, would there have been further ability for legal recourse?
Any help would be great. I just can't stand by while someone does something stupid that puts people in jeopardy.