Sexual Discrimination? For real?

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Sexual Discrimination? For real?

Post by isitillegal4them » Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:22 am

Greetings all,
I am new to the board and have been in the bodywork and spa field for almost 7 years now. I have long got the gist of how things work as a male therapist for quite some time now. I work in a very high end spa, as a matter of fact one of the best in the country according to Conde Nast and have recently run into an issue that I don’t think I have seen on the board. For obvious reasons I have decided to remain anonymous pending what I find out as a result of this. Here goes:

I again work in a high end spa; however in my opinion the reservation system is a bit archaic. A particular reservation agent over the years has become quite jaded, and has, according to some, started to dislike myself for personal reasons. Of course we all know that your reservation agent is the key to your pay check in this type of situation, so I have made many attempts to quell whatever ill feelings this person may have for me, but always get the “no sweetie, there is nothing wrong” line from them. Recently I have confirmed that this person is placing false gender preferences on guests so as keep me from the right of the appointment, solely based on the clients “alleged gender preference” I have now confirmed, and documented six separate incidences. I reported the first one with no avail from the supervisor. However now I can clearly prove a deliberate attempt to keep me from an appointment, based purely on this persons dislike for me, as well as their false preference notes.

Anyone else ever experience something similar? How was it handled? I am a little worried about moving forward with this, and how it may label me, and what ramification’s I could incur in my workplace. Any advice or suggestions are appreciated

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Re: Sexual Discrimination? For real?

Post by Snackdaddy » Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:04 pm

That's a rough one, partner. I'm in Scottsdale, and have done time in some fancy pants places around here as well.

I'm no expert, but it seems to me that your best bet is to continue to DOCUMENT. I'd shy away from drawing the conclusions to your documentation as you do ("... based purely on this person's dislike for me..."). Just collect the facts. It's surprising your supervisor didn't care. Seems like they'd be worried about some kind of legal liability (the specifics of which I can only guess at).

Keep going up the company ladder. Document each of your steps up that ladder.

Good luck, sir!
I'm Eric W., in AZ. "Snackdaddy" is too cryptic, but I don't know how to change it.

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Re: Sexual Discrimination? For real?

Post by MarionFM » Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:19 pm

You might win a battle - and lose the war. Even if you could prove your case, I suspect that your employer would find some way to fire you - and blacklist you for other employers. Is it worth it?

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Re: Sexual Discrimination? For real?

Post by Levi » Wed Oct 17, 2012 8:19 pm

What you describe is more like a case of co-worker sabotage instead of sexual discrimination. The falsification of the guests gender preferences to exclude you from working, if indeed true would be actionable in a legal case if you can nail down that claim and prove it. Then you would need an employment law attorney and money for a retainer and court filing fees. But like others have said, you need to pick your battles, and it is doubtful that much is to be gained by you here in terms of damages.

Massage services are very personal in mature, and as such personal services are afforded a lot of leeway by both courts and businesses. Most massage customers in a spa setting prefer women to men therapists by a wide margin. For whatever reason(s), that is the reality of the business. Perhaps this attitude has migrated to the appointment desk of your spa, or perhaps this is an issue specific to you and there are other motivations or concerns with regard to the appointment desk. We don't have that information.

You have stated that you have done what you can do to ameliorate this problem, but to no avail. That does not leave you with many options. I can only suggest that you bring your A-game consistently to work until you get the problem sorted out one way or another. Good luck, I hope things improve for you.

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Re: Sexual Discrimination? For real?

Post by RelaxandRejuvenate » Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:00 pm

isitillegal4them wrote: Of course we all know that your reservation agent is the key to your pay check in this type of situation,
If the Reservations Agents are the key to your paycheck, the spa manager is completely out of touch and weak. This is probably exacerbated by a commission-heavy compensation scheme.

We record all of our reservations calls, and if I hear that they are using the phrase "do you have a gender preference for your technician; male, female or no preference?" on every phone call, they get beaten, severely.

We have a strict procedure for balancing work-loads and assigning work -- all "no preference" services are assigned to male therapists if there is one available, all body treatments go to the technician with the lowest utilization (regardless of gender) etc.

We pay on an "either/or basis". Either Hourly * Hours on the clock OR Fees earned for services, whichever is greater. This puts a premium on therapist utlization, to ensure we are not paying someone to twiddle their thumbs while someone else is earning substantially more by being given so many services and the fees that go with them.

When comp schemes are too heavily based on %, there is little or no cost to the spa when the workload is unbalanced. But unbalanced work loads drive dissatisfaction and increase costs through turnover and low morale.

But all of this is on the Spa Manager -- they should be steering the place, not the Reservations agents.

So what to do? I assume your are an employee, not a contractor. If an IC, you have a different issues. Put your issue in writing to your supervisor and request a meeting to discuss and insist on a written response/summary of the meeting. If you don't see what the manager said happening, then you have to prove otherwise (most managers THINK X happens, but they really don't know unless they are really on top of things, and it already sounds like this manager does not)

Arizona is a "one-party" state when it comes to phone call recordings. Have a few of your friends and relatives call the spa to book services and record the conversations and see what you find. You can hire a 3rd party "mystery shopping" company to do it for you if you want something more official, Ann Michaels Associates is great for this, about $50 - $75 per shop
Smithers: "Sir, I'm afraid we have a bad image, people see you as a bit of an ogre." Mr.Burns: "I ought to club them and eat their bones!"

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Re: Sexual Discrimination? For real?

Post by ChrisD » Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:28 pm

isitillegal4them: let me guess, you work at Canyon Ranch?... the same thing happened to me 10 years ago. The problem with this profession is that it attracts an inordinate number of the unhealed who work in it. If you are in it for the money, it is a losing battle. Move on. Try Ten Thousand Waves in Santa Fe. Great place to work with good people, and they only hire the best, void of cronyism. At Ten Thousand Waves it is about the work, not who you know or kissing someone's arse to make a living. Keep the fires alive...

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