Multiple Sexual Assault Complaints Against Massage Envy Have Authorities Questioning Their “Zero-Tolerance” Sexual Assault Policy.
National massage chain, Massage Envy, is the target of a new round of complaints accusing Massage Envy workers of sexual violations. The company has been accused of allowing sexual assault to occur in 12 states with over 19 therapists implicated. According to ABC News, Massage Envy appears to be turning a blind eye to the complaints and has stated that all employees have passed a background check and that Massage Envy employs a zero-tolerance policy against sexual assault, however, court records show otherwise.
Data uncovered by ABC News shows that Massage Envy employees have been accused of sexual assault 19 times in 12 different states.
In 2011, a Massage Envy therapist was accused of multiple counts of sexual abuse in Oklahoma. The sexual assault lawsuit against the man alleges that he sexually assaulted and impregnated a woman in the spring of 2011. Court records showed that customers filed multiple complaints against the man with Massage Envy, but he remained in employment until September, 2012. [http://www.jrn.com/ktnv/news/contact-13/contact-13-investigates/Misconduct-allegations-hit-Massage-Envy-on-nationwide-scale-257739981.html, March 2015]
In Las Vegas, one massage therapist had five sexual assault complaints across multiple Massage Envy locations over the past 2 years. These women have filed an official complaint against the therapist with the Nevada State Board of Massage Therapists.
In May 2014, a woman reported a case of sexual assault to Massage Envy staff and local police, but according to the lawsuit filed in Houston, Texas, the therapist was not indicted. The Massage Envy franchise fired the man, but he was later re-hired by a different Massage Envy franchise, where he was yet again charged with sexual assault. [http://abc13.com/news/massage-therapist-accused-of-sex-assault/546515/, March 2015]
In March 2015, sexual assault complaints were filed against a Massage Envy employee in Houston from two different franchise locations. An official police report was filed, and the man was charged with sexual assault. The man admitted to touching the women in a sexual manner during the investigation. The man is no longer employed by Massage Envy.
According to Massage Envy spokespersons, such reports of sexual assault are rare. Massage Envy told ABC News that sexual misconduct represents less than 1/100 of a percent of their clientele. Massage Envy stated they perform background checks on all potential employees and check with other franchises for any restrictions before hiring employees. According to the company, Massage Envy has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault.
Massage Envy released a statement after the March 2015 allegations, stating:
“Massage Envy Spa and its franchisees take any allegation of inappropriate conduct very seriously. Our Code of Conduct and Zero Tolerance Policy requires that any allegation of inappropriate conduct must be thoroughly investigated by the franchisee, which did occur in this case.
The therapist at issue is no longer employed by this franchisee. The franchisee did conduct the requisite background check on the therapist and is cooperating with authorities.”
However, the sheer number of sexual assault allegations specifically with Massage Envy makes some individuals skeptical. ABC News reports that one lawsuit filed against the company stated, “They are averaging, on a national level, a sexual assault every 22 days.”