How to Listen to Clients During Reports of Sexual Misconduct

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In the age of #MeToo, #TimesUp, and #NeverAgain, it's important to ensure your spa is handling all allegations of sexual misconduct properly. Once an incident has happened, you want to get it on the record. Unfortunately, the tendency is to think the situation will resolve itself or just go away. Sadly, this has the potential to seriously injure your spa’s reputation as well as that of the industry.

“This is very problematic for our industry, because it damages the hard-won reputation of spas and massage,” says Beata Aleksandrowicz, an expert on massage and the founder of the Pure Massage Spa Training Method. “It is just starting to be widely associated with wellness and healing in the minds of the wider public, and now, I fear we are taking a step back to the time when massage was associated with ‘extra services’ in the massage parlour. I don’t say this lightly either— I think that this has the potential to do great damage to the spa industry and the reputation of massage.” If the #MeToo movement has taught us anything, it’s that there is no statute of limitations on uncovering impropriety.

“If a guest is reporting a situation to you, try and have a second set of ears listening along with you so that you can convey the information to the proper authorities and to the staff member,” says Michael Tompkins, executive recruiter at Hutchinson Consulting. However, you also want to remember that sharing an account of sexual misconduct is not an easy thing to do. Victims often feel shame and embarrassment, which explains why many don’t speak up until later when they’ve had time to process the experience. As was noted in the Buzzfeed News piece, many of the alleged victims didn’t speak up right away but rather reported the incidents with a phone call instead. It's important to be transparent with the victim, the police, and the accused to help the investigation go smoothly and to maintain a good reputation for your spa.

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