Sexual Harassment Towards Staff Policy
Due to the very nature of their work, therapists carry out treatments in a room usually with a single client, therefore it is important that both parties understand what actions are deemed appropriate when in a treatment room. Touch only goes one way – the therapists will touch the client to carry out the treatment; the client is never to touch the therapist. The therapist will never touch the private area of the client. Underwear and draping – all clients are to wear underwear, unless the therapist is comfortable for the client to remove their underwear. Every client is to be draped by a towel or sheet. It is acceptable to ask the therapist to change the covering if you (the client) are too warm or uncomfortable, though it is not okay to remove it yourself. Talking – speaking to your therapist during the treatment is okay, though neither party should directly ask personal questions or make sexual comments or innuendos which could cause embarrassment or discomfort to either party.
Inappropriate behaviour is deemed as unwelcomed and unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, unwanted physical contact, stalking and other sexual and/or homophobic remarks, innuendos and lewd jokes and any physically inappropriate behaviour that in any way makes the therapist feel unsafe. Exposing yourself – either not covering yourself with a drape or intentionally removing it during a treatment to expose your private area. Touching yourself – at any point during the treatment will be viewed as a sexual act. Touching the therapist – not at any time should you touch, grab or stoke the therapist. Clients should keep their arms under the drape at all times and hands flat against the table. Derogatory or sexist comments – asking or propositioning your therapist for ‘extra services’ and any sexually descriptive language or innuendo which can make the therapist feel unsafe in the environment.
CROSSING THE BOUNDRIES
Whether physically, verbally or both, crossing the boundaries set out above may lead to the treatment coming to an end and the client being banned from returning to the spa. We take aggression and sexual harassment against staff, therapists and members of the public very seriously and will take legal action against clients when we deem necessary to do so. If a client is deemed to have crossed the boundaries set above, the therapist will immediately stop the treatment and reinforce that the behaviour is not appropriate. If it was a genuine mistake then after reinforcing the boundaries on what is acceptable behaviour the treatment can continue, but if a further incident occurs the therapist will leave the room and the client will be asked to get dressed and leave the spa. If the client makes a genuine mistake during the treatment, they should apologise that it was not their intent, then the incident will not be taken any further.
We understand that touch can sometimes lead to arousal in both male and female clients. If it does not cause the client discomfort or embarrassment then the therapist will not draw attention to it to save any possible embarrassment. However, if the therapist feels uncomfortable or the client displays other verbal or nonverbal behaviours that could indicate sexual intent, the therapist may speak to the client to attain whether it is merely a touch response or part of a sexual desire.
Each occurrence of inappropriate behaviour will be noted in the client's personal record. This will detail the therapists account of events and will be kept on the client record indefinitely. Depending on the severity of the incident, it may be overlooked, an alternative therapist might be allocated to the client for future appointments, or the client might be informed they are no longer welcome to visit the spa. At any point, we have the right to inform the police. In all cases, our therapists wellbeing is paramount to us and we will always do what we can to ensure they are able to practice in a safe and secure environment.
Any client who inappropriately touches a therapist in their private area or tries to sexually assault a therapist will be immediately banned from the premises and the police will be contacted with the view to press charges against the client. Full client details and CCTV evidence from all areas of the premises will be made available to the police for an investigation.