TOUCH POINTS NEWS HUMAN FACTOR Report: Clients claim sex abuse at Massage Envy spas Scottsdale, ariz. – More than 180 people across the United States have filed sexual assault lawsuits, po-lice reports and other sexual misconduct complaints against Massage Envy spas, their employees and the na-tional company, according to an investigative report by the website BuzzFeed News. The website reported that many of those who com-plained believed their claims were mishandled or ignored by employees and owners of individual Massage Envy spas and by the national company. Dozens of women re-ported digital and oral pen-etration. More than 100 re-ported that massage therapists groped their gen-itals, groped their breasts, or committed other explicit violations. Adam Horowitz, a lawyer who has handled more than two dozen sexual miscon-duct lawsuits involving Mas-sage Envy, said he received 25 calls from alleged new victims following the re-port’s publication. The claims represent only a fraction of the tens of mil-lions of services Massage Envy says its franchises have provided, Buzz Feed News reported. Lawyers for spa clients told BuzzFeed News that there are cases of women reporting massage therapist abuse to police where no arrests have been made with Massage Envy spas offering settlements before lawsuits have been filed, leaving no public record. Massage Envy in a state-ment said the complaints documented by BuzzFeed News spanned a period of more than 15 years and said each account was heart-breaking. “But, we believe that even one incident is too many, so we are constantly listening, learning, and evaluating how we can continue to strengthen our policies with respect to handling of these issues,” the company said. Melanie Hansen, general counsel of Massage Envy Franchising, told BuzzFeed News that the company has worked hard to create the industry’s “most stringent, rigorous policies” for hiring, screening and training ther-apists. Except in some places where local laws might de-mand it, the company does not compel franchisees to notify law enforcement or to hire qualified investigators to help determine what hap-pened, BuzzFeed News re-ported. The company tells fran-chisees they must conduct their own “prompt, fair, and thorough” investigation of any abuse or misconduct claims, but Buzz Feed News reported it provides little guidance on how to do so. In court filings and in public statements, Massage Envy said it is not liable for sexual assaults that take place at the spas because of the nature of the franchise arrangement, BuzzFeed news reported. Spas control their own day-to-day opera-tions, Hansen said, includ-ing figuring out how best to investigate inappropriate conduct. – The Associated Press WHAT’S ONLINE Trending items on MassageTherapyCanada.com 8 Massage Therapy Canada Winter 2018 massagetherapycanada.com Illustration: Brian Fray MISSED AN ISSUE? Check out Massage Therapy Canada magazine’s digital edition archive at www.massagetherapycanada.com/ digital. JOB POSTING Whether you’re looking for new opportunities or in search of RMTs to join your team, our online Marketplace section is a great resource.