After Sexual Assault Investigation Massage Envy Changes Multiple Policies 

Image via AP

In November a Buzzfeed News investigation
found that
over 180 people have filed complaints, police
reports, and lawsuits against the chain Massage Envy and its
employees for sexual assault. Now the company is making changes
to their sexual assault policy, which—until now—provided little
guidance on how individual spa owners could look into
misconduct and assault claims.

Massage Envy claimed that because of their business model of
selling franchise agreements, the company was not liable for
what happens during the day-to-day operations of individual spa
locations. But now,
Buzzfeed News reports
that the following new policies have
been created:

  • Spas will be now required to give contact information for
    local law enforcement and a private room in which to call from
    should a Massage Envy client or employee report sexual
    assault.
  • Massage therapists will undergo background checks every
    year instead of just when they’re hired.
  • The company now has a partnership with RAINN, which will
    work with Massage Envy to review the company’s assault policies
    and procedures. RAINN will also set up a reporting hotline and
    will serve on Massage Envy’s new “safety advisory council.”

Massage Envy Franchising’s CEO, Joseph C. Magnacca, told
Buzzfeed that the company has already seen a “relatively
moderate” drop-off in membership due to the investigation into
assault claims.

Buzzfeed also reports that since their investigation, former
Massage Envy employees have also alleged that the company
mishandled claims made by massage therapists. The company says
that complaints made by employees, whether towards colleagues
or clients, will be handled the same as those made by clients.

“Just as our therapists, managers, and franchisees are ready,
willing, and able to ensure the safety of members and guests,
we, too, are laser focused on providing a safe environment for
those 20,000 therapists who make the business what it is today,
and what it will be tomorrow,” Massage Envy’s general counsel
Melanie Hansen told Buzzfeed.

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