The number of women alleging incidents involving Massage Envy inappropriate behavior continues to increase. BuzzFeed News investigated several reports of women who alleged they were victims of sexual abuse and Massage Envy inappropriate behavior. The report in 2017 concluded that the popular massage chain was more interested in protecting its brand than it was in protecting customers who trusted the company to provide safe massage services.
The reports of sexual abuse at Massage Envy locations in California and throughout the United States continue to surface. In June 2019, a Ventura Massage Envy therapist was arrested for digital penetration and sexual battery. Investigators were searching for additional victims. In Charlotte, North Carolina, a woman reported in August 2019, that she was sexually assaulted at a Massage Envy in Ballantyne Village.
It is clear that cases of Massage Envy inappropriate behavior continue in California and throughout the United States. In addition to the allegations of sexual assault and sexual abuse against specific massage therapists, Massage Envy is still being accused of negligently handling claims and reports of abuse and inappropriate behavior by customers.
If you are a victim of sexual assault or inappropriate behavior at a Massage Envy location, contact The Thompson Law Office by calling 1-650-513-6111 for a free consultation with a California injury lawyer. Learn about your legal rights and the options you have for filing a claim against the company for damages sustained because of the assault.
When Does Massage Envy Inappropriate Behavior Become Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is a broad term that includes unwanted conduct of a sexual nature. The conduct can be verbal or physical. It can occur in a variety of settings. Examples of sexual harassment include:
- Sexual assault or sexual abuse
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Performing sexual acts on oneself or exposing oneself
- Unwanted physical contact or touching
- Request for sexual acts
- Being pressured to engage sexually with someone
- Verbal harassment of a sexual nature
- Discussing sexual topics or relations in inappropriate settings
- Sending unwanted sexual messages
Sexual harassment is against the law. Inappropriate behavior may or may not be a crime. Inappropriate behavior is not a legal term; however, some forms of inappropriate behavior can rise to the level of sexual harassment.
Inappropriate behavior encompasses a wide variety of workplace behavior. It can include bullying, harassment, discrimination, and sexual assault. However, inappropriate behavior at work can also include gossiping, oversharing, being non-productive, and cussing. The issue is whether the inappropriate behavior rises to the level of a crime.
The Massage Envy inappropriate behavior allegations by various women involve sexual harassment and sexual assault. Those are crimes. The allegations of Massage Envy inappropriate behavior against the individual franchises and the corporation involving negligence and wrongdoing involving hiring practices, employee supervision, and failing to address reports of sexual abuse and sexual harassment by customers.
While the actions of Massage Envy itself may not be grounds for a criminal charge, the victims could have grounds for a civil claim against the franchise and the parent company. Many of the lawsuits against Massage Envy claim that the company failed to train its staff members properly regarding the procedures for responding to sexual assault complaints.
Victims claim that their reports of sexual assault by Massage Envy therapists were ignored, covered up, or minimized. Some victims claim that employees shamed them when they tried to report the crime.
Also, it appears that the company would sometimes relocate the therapists accused of sexual assault to another Massage Envy location to try to cover the matter up. By continuing to allow the therapist to practice, the company may have been negligent and complicit in the conduct. As BuzzFeed News reported, the company’s policies at the time of the alleged incidents were more focused on protecting the company than protecting the customers or the public.
Dealing with the Aftermath of Massage Envy Inappropriate Behavior by the Therapist and the Company
Victims of sexual assault or sexual harassment by a Massage Envy therapist must deal with the aftermath of the sexual trauma. The wrongdoing by the company adds to the mental anguish and emotional distress the victims experience. The effects of sexual harassment and sexual assault can be devastating.
It can be extremely difficult for a woman to come forward to report sexual assault. They may feel guilty that they did not try to stop their attacker or scream out. Many victims say they “froze” when the assault occurred. A “freeze response” is actually one way our brain responds to trauma.
The women who were sexually assaulted by Massage Envy therapists were in a very private, isolated setting. They were attempting to relax. It is understandable that when they were suddenly subjected to sexual assault that they might “freeze” in response to the trauma. Instead of blaming them for a natural response, the company tries to shame them by using their failure to cry out as a defense.
Survivors experience a variety of psychological and emotional effects after a sexual assault. Because of the sexual assault and the ensuring Massage Envy inappropriate behavior by staff members trying to cover up or ignore complaints, survivors may experience:
- Substance Abuse
- Easing Disorders
- Sleep Disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Suicidal Thoughts or Actions
Holding the company accountable for its part in this horrific and tragic event is one way for survivors to have a voice after such a terrible event. It is also a way to shed light on an ongoing problem for this company. As women continue to come forward to report incidents involving Massage Envy inappropriate behavior by therapists, it is obvious the company is not doing enough to protect its clients from sexual predators.
How Can A Lawsuit Make It Right?
A lawsuit cannot undo the damage that has been done because of a negligent company and a sexual predator. However, filing a personal injury lawsuit against Massage Envy alleging negligence and other wrongdoing can help victims take back some of the power that was taken from them. It can also help victims recover compensation for the damages and losses they sustained because of the sexual assault.
Victims of sexual harassment or assault may be entitled to compensation for a variety of damages including but not limited to:
- The cost of medical care, including counseling and mental health treatment;
- The loss of income, including lost wages from being out of work or diminished earning capacity because the person cannot work as many hours due to the emotional problems caused by the sexual assault; and,
- The past, current, and ongoing mental anguish and emotional suffering caused by the attack, including PTSD, depression, and other emotional disorders.
At The Thompson Law Office, we understand that you may not want to relieve the nightmare that you experienced when a Massage Envy therapist sexually assaulted you. We know that money cannot ease your suffering or pain.
However, we also know that by filing lawsuits and continuing to shine a bright light on the wrongdoing of individuals and corporate entities, we can help force companies to take steps to prevent terrible things from happening again. We might help other victims find their voice because they know that they are not alone.
We are working with victims of Massage Envy inappropriate behavior as they fight to hold the therapists, owners, and corporation responsible for their actions and inactions. Our California Massage Envy injury lawyers provide the legal advice, support, and guidance you need as you seek the justice you deserve.
What Should You Do If You Have Been Sexually Assaulted by a Massage Therapist?
As discussed above, you may “freeze” during the initial assault. If you do, do not feel ashamed or guilty. Your response to the trauma is natural. However, as soon as possible, report the attack to the business owner and the police. Insist that the owner initiate a formal complaint against the therapist. File a police report stating what happened so that law enforcement officers can investigate the crime.
If you have not seen a doctor, you should do so. You may need a physical examination, depending on the type and severity of the sexual assault. You might also want to consider seeking mental health treatment after the assault. A counselor, therapist, or other mental health provider experienced in treating cases involving sexual assault can help you process the emotional and mental aspects of the assault.
Gather together any paperwork or documents related to your Massage Envy account or membership. Keep copies of all documents you receive. It can be helpful to keep notes about how the sexual assault affects your daily life and your relationship with other people.
Contact a California Massage Envy injury attorney as soon as possible. The company, its insurance provider, or its attorney may attempt to contact you to interview you about your claim. It is best not to talk to the company or a representative for the company until you have the opportunity to speak with a personal injury lawyer.
The company may offer to pay your medical bills or provide compensation. Do not accept the offer until you discuss your claim with an attorney. Assistance offered by the company could come with strings that prevent you from pursuing a claim for compensation of full damages. Do not trust the company or its representatives. Call our office for a free consultation with an attorney. We want to ensure that you are protected throughout the entire process of filing a report of an assault and an injury claim related to the sexual assault.
Sexual Assault Lawsuits Against Massage Envy
When BuzzFeed published its report, over 180 women had filed Massage Envy lawsuits against the parent company, employees, and franchises. Since that time, more women have come forward with allegations of sexual assault. The problem continues today with new cases of harassment and sexual assault by massage therapists being reported to law enforcement agencies.
Massage Envy released statements claiming that it was changing its policies regarding reporting allegations of sexual abuse and harassment. It introduced a six-point safety plan designed to strengthen existing policies. The plan included investigating claims of sexual assault more thoroughly, screening employees, conducting annual background screens, and other measures. However, is the company doing enough to prevent sexual predators from working as massage therapists if women continue to be sexually assaulted by Massage Envy therapists?
More lawsuits may be filed against the parent company and franchise owners in states throughout the country.
It is your time to have your voice heard. If a Massage Envy therapist sexually assaulted your or committed other inappropriate behavior during your massage session, tell someone. Get the help you need to deal with the feelings you experience because of the assault. Talk to a lawyer about your legal rights and ways that your voice can be heard regardless of how the company may attempt to silence victims.
Standing together and filing lawsuits against Massage Envy ensures that the company cannot sweep the matter under the rug. They cannot continue to cover up their negligence and the crimes committed by massage therapists employed by their franchises.
Make your voice heard today. You might inspire another woman to stand up and make her voice heard. With enough women coming forward to report their cases of sexual assault at Massage Envy, maybe real change will occur.
The Lawyers of The Thompson Law Office Fight for the Rights of Sexual Assault Survivors
Please contact our office for a confidential, free consultation with a California Massage Envy lawsuit attorney. Call 1-650-513-6111 for more information or to schedule your free case review.
Your appointment is held in a safe, non-threatening environment where you are encouraged to speak freely about what happened to you with the knowledge that what you say in our office is confidential and protected by the attorney-client privilege.
Source: Source: “More Than 180 Women Have Reported Sexual Assaults At Massage Envy.” Katie J.M. Baker. BuzzFeed News. 26 November 2017