Can a gym contract preventing members from leaving bad reviews or posts?

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Can a gym contract preventing members from leaving bad reviews or posts?

I joined a gym without going over all the details in the contract. It turns out that it’s a pretty crooked operation in my opinion. However, there is a clause in the contract stating that we cannot leave any bad reviews or posts. There is a fee of 3500 if we do. Is that legal? It seems like freedom of speech would supersede the contract?

Asked on June 26, 2019 under Business Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

It is legal and freedom of speech does not apply: freedome of speech or the 1st Amendment only applies against the government (i.e. the government cannot limit speech) but does not apply to private businesses. A private business and its customers can contract that the customer shall not disparage (leave bad reivews or posts or "bad mouth") the business, and if you signed a contract with such a clause, it is enforceable against you.


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