Plaintiffs File Lawsuit Against Massage Envy Claiming Multiple Acts of Sexual Assault
Not unlike the civil cases that have been filed against the catholic church, a recent lawsuit accuses a large massage franchise of failing to protect clients from sexual assault. According to Channel 10 News in San Diego, a lawsuit has been filed claiming that massage therapists at four Massage Envy sites sexually assaulted female clients. The lawsuit was filed in California’s San Mateo County Superior Court. It accuses Massage Envy of:
“negligently hiring and supervising five therapists accused by the plaintiffs, and ignoring the “known risk of assault they posed to customers” by allowing them to remain employed or transferring them to another franchise location.”
Also, the plaintiffs allege that Massage Envy has no policy that requires complaints about sexual assault be reported to law enforcement. The plaintiffs also allege that Massage Envy actually has a policy of concealing reports of sexual assault. According to the plaintiffs’ attorney, “Employees who went to management were told not to complain, which sent a message to those speaking up that such conduct was acceptable.”
Sexual Assault Allegedly Occurred at Various Massage Envy Locations
The complaint against massage envy alleges incidents occurred at locations in Corona, Daly City, Cotati, and Encinitas. The allegations range from one therapist ejaculating on a client to several male therapists shaming women claiming “they obviously wanted sex by seeking a massage.” The fact that incidents seem to have taken place in so many franchise locations may not bode well for Massage Envy’s corporate parent office.
In fact, the lawsuit was filed the same day a Massage Envy therapist faced criminal charges for sexually assaulting two women while working at the Mission Viejo location. So many therapists facing allegations of sexual assault could indicate a severe lack of oversite, reporting, and concern with sexual abuse within its ranks.
Did Toxic Work Culture Lead to Multiple Sexual Assaults?
The Plaintiffs’ lawyers Stated frequent allegations of sexual assault at Massage Envy is “a by-product of a toxic work culture, where abuse persisted and was tolerated even after the problem was well recognized within the company, and yet customer complaints went smothered and unreported.”
If these allegations are deemed valid, Massage Envy may be liable to their clients for significant monetary damages. They may also be required to create and enforce new policies that protect their clients from future assaults. The court will consider some of the following issues:
- Did Massage Envy know about the sexual assault?
- Did Massage Envy do proper background checks on its employees?
- Should Massage Envy have done more to protect clients?
- Did the company “cover-up” the danger of sexual assault?
- Did the company ignore complaints or act unreasonably when responding to complaints?
- Did Massage Envy negligently hire therapists?
- Did Massage Envy punish employees who complained about sexual assault?
These are just some of the legal and factual issues to be determined in this case. If found to be negligent, Massage Envy may owe the plaintiffs significant damages for emotional trauma, physical injuries, and other harm they endured because of the assaults.
Contact Our Sexual Abuse Lawyers at Alonso Krangle, LLP
If you have been sexually assaulted by a massage therapist, clergy member, employer, or caregiver, call our New York sexual harassment lawyers today at 516-350-5555. Time is of the essence, please do not wait to protect yourself and your legal rights.
I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your help. Tonight is the first night since January that I can finally breath a sigh of relief. Your determination and dedication to my case was by far beyond what I could ever imagined.