Phillips & Associates

Sexual Harassment of Massage Therapists by Bosses and Customers

Legal Representation for Victims of Gender Discrimination in New York City

When management sides with customers no matter how obnoxious their behavior may be, the message "the customer is always right" is drilled into employees. Massage therapists are in positions of trust with their customers and depend on tips from their customers to make a living. Unfortunately, some customers and bosses incorrectly assume that if a massage therapist is willing to provide healing, this also means that the massage therapist is more receptive sexually. If you are a massage therapist who is sexually harassed in the workplace by a boss or by customers, you may be able to recover damages. The New York City attorneys at Phillips & Associates are knowledgeable in sexual harassment claims and can advise you on your rights and options.

Improper Conduct Toward Massage Therapists by Bosses and Customers

In economically insecure times, people in service occupations are often the hardest hit because individual customers and their tips are their only source of profit. Often, managers want customers to come back to their business, and so they ask their staff to put up with behavior they would not tolerate in private settings. However, sexual harassment in the workplace from customers or from a boss is unacceptable.

Sexual harassment may be one of two types: "quid pro quo" or "hostile work environment." In quid pro quo harassment, an employer may promises to take a particular employment action, or refrain from taking an action, in exchange for a sexual favor. For example, if your boss agrees to assign you more clients or higher-paying massages so that you can make more money, in exchange for sex, this is quid pro quo harassment.

Hostile work environment harassment happens when unwelcome sexual conduct or comments are pervasive or so acute that they alter the conditions of employment. New York City provides employee even greater protection for a hostile work environment. The conduct that may be sexual harassment can include:

  • Sexual jokes
  • Sending sexually suggestive texts or emails
  • Repeatedly asking for dates
  • Inappropriate touching
  • Display of inappropriate sexual materials

If the conduct is isolated or a single request for a date where interest is not reciprocated, it may not harassment. However, a single incident that is severe enough could qualify as a hostile work environment claim. For example, a sexual assault by your boss could give rise to a hostile workplace claim. Similarly, if your boss keeps assigning you to massage a friend who repeatedly exposes himself to you and asks for sexual favors, this could give rise to a claim. In some cases, employees have a claim even when they are not the targets of the unwelcome sexual conduct.

In order to hold an employer liable for hostile work environment harassment occurring between two employees at the same level, you will need to show the employer knew or should have known about what was happening and did not take steps to prevent it. In most cases, if your boss is the one harassing you, the employer may be held liable even before HR knew. Generally, you should report sexual harassment to HR or your boss as soon as you become uncomfortable from a gesture, rather than waiting for it to become more severe.

Contact a New York City Attorney for Guidance with a Sexual Harassment Case

Sexual harassment of New York massage therapists is a problem that causes shame and pain to victims. If you were sexually harassed by your boss or customer, you may be entitled to damages. It is important to retain a knowledgeable gender discrimination lawyer if you have been affected by inappropriate conduct in a New York City workplace. Call us at (212) 248-7431 or contact us through our online form to set up a free consultation. We serve sexual harassment victims throughout the five boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.

45 Broadway, #620,
New York NY, 10006
Tel: 212-248-7431
Fax: 212-901-2107

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I was a client with this law firm. I can't stress enough how awesome and professional the people are here. Silvia & Erica made me feel so comfortable and welcome. I never had to guess anything. Anytime I call, emailed, or even texted. They were always there. If not they would get back to me as soon as possible. My case was not an easy situation for me but I tell you these guys made it seem like it was. I'm so glad that I use Phillip & Phillip. I thank you guys from the bottom of my heart. I am so grateful to have met such awesome, honest, and caring people. Thank you again. Djuana
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