Massage Therapists and Sexual Misconduct- Dont Endanger Your Business!
5 Interview questions so you don't hire a Sexual predator.
Don't have a sexual predator as part of your massage therapy team
With recent news of another Massage Therapist pleading guilty to sexual assault, it is time to talk about the steps we as owners and managers of businesses providing Massage can take to protect our clients, other team members, and our business, as well as our own blood pressure.
In the 25 years that I have been in the Massage Therapy and Service professions, this is a subject that comes up again and again.
I have talked to hundreds of therapists, business owners, and clients about the dangers to clients, other therapists, and businesses when a Massage Therapist is accused of sexual misconduct.
Most of us who have or run Massage Clinics, Chiropractic businesses or spas do not have a background in Human resources, and we have chosen our work because we love people and have a desire to make the lives of those around us better.
We can't imagine ever knowing anyone that would sexually assualt someone in their care.
In addition we are reluctant to judge, instead wanting to err on the side of caution, and we know how tough it is for even excellent male massage therapists to build a practice that we also do not want to judge them or make it harder. (back to making life better for everyone around us.)
When conducting an interview, it takes only a couple extra questions and a small shift in focus to note possible warning signs.
1. Is the interviewee overly attentive, gushing about you or the job offer.
This seems counterintuitive, they are there for a job interview after all they should really want the job, and surely being keen is a good thing right? Only sort of. If it seems over the top, be aware. Sexual Predators are good at both finding an in and building trust.
2. Plays the victim or refusal to take responsibility. This is a warning sign of all sorts of potential problems, and as such should always be noted.
3. Entitled or Arrogant- especially as this relates to relationships
4.Dismissive of female colleagues, especially as this relates to women in supervisory roles
5. Shows a lack of empathy- which especially in a profession centered on nurturing clients shows a level of disconnect between the purpose of the job and why a therapist is drawn to the profession.
Things to look for on the job.
Once the job begins what to watch for.
Interviews are great, but everyone is on their best behavior, and often when we are interviewing, we have a pressing need to make a decision.
In the three month trial period there are going to be lots of opportunities to evaluate all members of the team.
We should not expect that a sexual predator will make themselves immediately and completely obvious. Nor should we assume that we are such amazing judges of character that we can't be conned.
Here are some excellent things to watch for and evaluate, and the best part is, problem employees have a lot in common with each other, and it doesn't take the horror of a client making a police report for a bad therapist to hurt your business and cause problems with other valued members of the team.
- When you express gratitude or praise to a therapist for a job well done, do they suddenly try a lot less hard?
- Do they resist any sort of coaching on improving their clients' experience or customer service, especially if it comes from a female supervisor
- Do they play the victim when things don't go their way
- If a client expresses unease or is late, are they dismissive of the client feelings
- Are they entitled or arrogant
- Do they lack empathy for clients or teammates
- Do they brag about casual sexual encounters
- Do they ask clients out for social encounters of any type
- Do they insert themselves into the lives of vulnerable team members or clients
- Do they make disparaging comments about the appearance, personality or clothing of coworkers
- Do they objectify or sexualize women in anyway
- Do they lie unnecessarily about little things
- Do they make clients uneasy
- Do they expect female colleagues to take care of them in any way that is outside the bounds of normal work relationships (such as childcare, doing extra work, etc)
- Do they fail to complete tasks based on gender bias? All therapists must do laundry and sweep floors.
All of these are signs of a problem employee, but the reality is that people always have strengths and weaknesses, and no one is perfect. But if the answer to many of the questions listed above is yes, you have a problem on your hands. And if you have more then one vehement YES to the above you need to consider terminating the employment of the therapist.