The Massage Envy Safety Advisory Council

Putting Our Commitment to Safety Into Action

August 27, 2018

“Massage Envy is committed to providing a safe environment for our members, guests and service providers,” said Joseph C. Magnacca, CEO of Massage Envy. “One incident is too many, which is why our rigorous Commitment to Safety plan is in place to identify and implement measures that will keep the clients and therapists at Massage Envy franchise locations safe.”

Massage Envy’s Commitment to Safety, which was launched in late 2017, further strengthened our existing policies on prevention and handling of inappropriate conduct in the massage therapy room and has further helped our franchisees maintain a safe, secure and professional environment. 

A critical component of the Commitment to Safety was the formation of the Safety Advisory Council, an 8-member group made up of leading authorities on sexual assault prevention, investigation and victim support, representatives from the massage therapy profession, Massage Envy franchise owners and members of the Massage Envy leadership team. The Safety Advisory Council draws from its collective expertise to help guide us in our implementation of the Commitment to Safety plan

“I am confident that the massage industry will be stronger and safer as a result of the actions that Massage Envy is taking,” said Dr. Danielle Dick, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, a victim’s rights advocate and member of the Massage Envy Safety Advisory Council.

“RAINN was retained by Massage Envy to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the company’s policies and programs related to client safety. We commend them for taking a timely and in-depth approach to addressing this situation,” said Jodi Omear, vice president of communications for RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization.

While we will always be in a continual state of improvement with respect to safety at Massage Envy franchise locations, it is important to share an update on progress made in the Commitment to Safety Program’s six-pointplan:

  1. Review

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization, has recently concluded an in-depth, end-to-end review and assessment of our policies and protocols. RAINN has provided us with recommendations, which we will share as we implement them. 

  1. Guidance

The Massage Envy Safety Advisory Council has been instrumental in developing and rolling out our new Safety training for franchisees and managers and is actively involved in many additional safety initiatives we are developing and testing. 

  1. Prevention

RAINN and other members of the Safety Advisory Council, along with Melanie Hansen, General Counsel for Massage Envy, facilitated safety training to more than1,300 franchisees and their managers covering the effects of trauma on victims, trauma-informed investigations, recognizing bias inconducting investigations, relevant forensic psychology as it relates to sexual misconduct, and best practices for client communication following a report of sexual misconduct.

We have also launched the Universal Service Provider Compliance Program, a fully automated, third-party system that tracks service providers' compliance with our safety requirements in real time and compliments the existing background screenings required of our franchised locations. The program addresses compliance in the following areas: 

  • Background Checks
  • License Verifications
  • Massage Envy University Required Training Completion
  • Employment Verifications
  1. Reporting

If there is an allegation of assault, franchisees are required to provide the client or therapist with a resource brochure that contains local law enforcement and state board contact information in addition to the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline number.  Franchisees are also required to offer a private room in which to notify the authorities or anyone they should choose. Clients have privacy rights and a right to choose who and when they would like to notify anyone outside the location.  We also unequivocally support reporting to law enforcement and state boards if a client desires to do so, and we require it whenever and wherever it is required by law.

  1. Support

The new resource brochure contains the RAINN hotline number, which provides immediate confidential assistance, trained staff and other resources, and is readily available at Massage Envy franchise locations. 

  1. Investigations

We have compiled a list of independent, third-party investigators with trauma-informed investigative training that can assist franchisees with investigations.

“In conjunction with our Safety Advisory Council, Massage Envy will continue to raise the bar on existing safety standards in the massage industry and share updates on the progress of the Commitment to Safety plan as they become available,” said Joseph C. Magnacca, CEO of Massage Envy. “Massage Envy’s commitment to providing an accessible, inviting, safe and professional environment to every member, guest and service provider has never been stronger.” 


August 10, 2018

Since our last update, Massage Envy franchisees and their managers nationwide completed a new, required Safety Training, which included cutting-edge information on the psychology of sexual misconduct and trauma-informed investigations.

After two years of development, we have launched a fully automated, third-party system that tracks in real time service providers' compliance with our safety requirements. This automated system compliments the annual background screenings our franchised locations are required to conduct.

We’ve also created a brochure that is readily available and accessible in franchised locations for anyone who might experience or have concerns about sexual misconduct. In the brochure is the number of a hotline that offers immediate, confidential assistance and access to trained staff and other resources for support, as well as contact information for local law enforcement and state licensing boards or certification authorities.

We know we cannot do this critically important work alone, so we partner with subject-matter experts like RAINN, a leading authority on preventing sexual assault and supporting victims. After an in-depth, end-to-end review and assessment of our policies and protocols, RAINN has come back to us with recommendations, which we will share as they roll out.

We continue to work with the Safety Advisory Council, which includes outside experts who guide our ongoing work on this issue and help us develop tools such as a new, state-of-the-art reporting tool that will launch toward the end of 2018.  

Our work will never be done with respect to our Commitment to Safety, and we will continue to lead the way. Here’s what Danielle Dick, victim advocate and member of our Safety Advisory Council has to say:

"Massage Envy should be viewed as a model for how a corporation responds to the discovery of events that have happened that are inconsistent with their corporate values. Rather than responding defensively, or by merely checking a box in an attempt to show that the problem had been addressed, Massage Envy responded in an authentic, transparent and meaningful way. 


The corporation used a challenging situation as an opportunity to reevaluate its practices and take concrete and meaningful steps not only to improve its own policies, but to set new industry standards for how to address sexual assault in its industry. Their response clearly reflects strong, principled leadership, and I am forever grateful to the company for its meaningful and thorough response. I am confident that the massage industry will be stronger and safer as a result of the actions that Massage Envy is taking." 

- Danielle Dick
   

 

MAY 4, 2018

We continue to strengthen our policies and practices through implementation of our Commitment to Safety plan, including: 

 

A fully automated, third-party system that tracks in real time service providers' compliance with our safety requirements. This automated system compliments the existing background screenings required of our franchised locations.

 

Through our partnership with RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, more than 1,300 franchisees and their managers have received required Safety training. The training covered the effects of trauma on victims, trauma-informed investigations, recognizing bias in conducting investigations, relevant forensic psychology as it relates to sexual misconduct, and best practices for client communication following a report of sexual misconduct.  

 

Later this month, we will roll out a new resource brochure for franchised locations to utilize. Readily available and accessible to anyone that might experience inappropriate conduct, the brochure contains the RAINN hotline number (which provides immediate confidential assistance, trained staff and other resources) as well as contact details for local law enforcement and state licensing board or certification authority.

 

Finally, we eagerly await RAINN's assessment of our policies and protocols following their in-depth, end-to-end review. RAINN’s work has included full-day visits to multiple franchised locations across the Massage Envy network. RAINN will make recommendations early this summer, and we will work with the Safety Council to review those recommendations and implement the recommendations that will drive the most impactful change.

 

The safety and well-being of members, guests, and service providers has been our mission from day one and our commitment has never been stronger. We know you put your trust in the brand, and we will keep working to earn it.

 

MARCH 7, 2018

As part of the changes we’re making under the Massage Envy Commitment to Safety, Massage Envy is adopting the Universal Background Screening (UBS) system in all franchise locations.  The UBS system is a fully-automated, third party screening tool that performs pre-hire and ongoing, annual background checks.  It also tracks and verifies a service providers compliance with Massage Envy policies — employment references, annual licensure/certification and training requirements — in real time. Franchise owners will use the system to screen potential hires and to regularly check the files of current employees. We are in the process of educating and training the franchise network on the system and it will be live in all franchise locations on May 1.

 

JANUARY 31, 2018

In late 2017, Massage Envy announced our Commitment to Safety – a plan to further strengthen our safety policies and programs and to guide how Massage Envy franchise locations handle reports of sexual assault and how to support those who come forward.

The plan was born out of our deep dedication to ensure our franchise locations maintain a safe, secure and professional environment. Built with input and guidance from clients, therapists and outside experts, our commitment to safety offers a clear path forward, giving us the opportunity to create meaningful change across the wellness industry, specifically in massage therapy. Maintaining this action plan is critically important work and we can’t do it alone.

Recently, we announced the formation of the Massage Envy Safety Advisory Council. This board of advisors is made up of leading authorities on sexual assault prevention, investigation and victim support, representatives from the massage therapy profession, Massage Envy franchise owners, and members of the Massage Envy leadership team. Council members will help guide and support our work to implement the Commitment to Safety plan and will act as advisors for our Safety & Support Team.

Each member of the council is a leading authority in their area of expertise, and each of them is caring, compassionate and dedicated to safety. As we go forward, we will count on their experience, ideas and insights, and we will constantly work to keep our franchisees, clients and therapists safe.

 

DECEMBER 4, 2017


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