Sexual Harassment In Your Spa
Over the past month, nearly every day has brought new allegations of sexual assault and misconduct against everyone from powerful Hollywood executives to massage therapists. As businesses that aim to offer wellness experiences, spas are challenged to ensure they are creating a safe and positive environment for both clients and employees.
To combat the threat of sexual harassment in your spa, you can follow these crucial practices:
Provide sexual harassment training for staff. Create a “zero tolerance for sexual harassment” culture. Develop and/or update sexual harassment policies and procedures. Ensure that we have a reporting process in place so that we can address reports of sexual harassment in your spa or assault immediately. Take appropriate action when warranted, including reporting sexual assault to the police as necessary.Refrain from retaliating against any staff person or intimidating any client who makes a sexual harassment report.
Don’t hide any sexual harassment in your spa from public view. Inform your clients and community about steps that you have taken to ensure that your spa continues to be a safe environment, protecting employees and customers from sexual harassment.
Many of these practices take anti-sexual harassment policies as a starting point. These policies should include (but are not limited to) the following:
A statement that sexual harassment of employees or clients will not be tolerated in the workplace.An easy-to-understand description of prohibited conduct, with examples.A description of the harassment reporting system, with multiple, easily accessible avenues to report.A description of a reporting system that results in a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation.A statement that the identity of an individual who submits a report, a witness who provides information regarding a report, and the target of the complaint, will be kept confidential to the extent possible consistent with a thorough and impartial investigation.A statement that any information gathered as part of an investigation will be kept confidential to the extent possible consistent with a thorough and impartial investigation.An assurance that a manager or other company leader will take immediate and proportionate corrective action if it determines that harassment has occurred.An assurance that an individual who submits a report (of harassment experienced or observed) or a witness who provides information regarding a report will be protected from retaliation.A statement that any employee who retaliates against an individual who submits a report or provides information regarding a report will be disciplined appropriately.
To help foster a zero-tolerance environment for sexual harassment in your spa, and among the general community, businesses can consider “civility training” and bystander intervention training. Civility training promotes the creation of solutions while emphasizing civility and respect.
Let’s add our voices to efforts to end sexual harassment in your spa, and in general by promoting the notion that no one may subject a client or employee to any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. We’re sure you pride yourself on providing a safe, relaxing environment, but we must all be vigilant about preventing discrimination, harassment, and assault. If you would like further information about anti-sexual harassment policies, contact [email protected]. Fran Mendelowitz, LCSW is a psychotherapist, founder of InterACT NY and an AMSkier Partner.