Legal Discrimination in Massage Therapy

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Legal Discrimination in Massage Therapy

Postby Caoimhan on Wed Apr 19, 2006 3:04 pm

I found that there's a gaping wide loophole in Federal anti-discrimination laws... Independent Contractors are not protected.

I found the following posted in a Craigslist job posting:

We are looking for female massage therapists interested in working as contractors in a chinese medicine and massage therapy center.


I was about to send the poster a nastygram about violating anti-discrimination laws, when I decided to check to see if they applied to contractors. I found the following article:

http://writ.corporate.findlaw.com/hilden/20030826.html

This really burns me up, seeing as how many more companies these days are avoiding the high expense of providing medical (and other) benefits, by only working with contractors. Now, it looks like they can discriminate, too.

Can you imagine seeing a job posting along these lines?

"Contract accountant wanted. Must be caucasian and male."

Equal employment laws should extend to contract work.
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Postby Caoimhan on Wed Apr 19, 2006 3:15 pm

Although this loophole exists at the Federal level, it looks as though at least California (perhaps others?) closes it to some degree:

http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/FAQ_IndependentContractor.htm
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Re: Legal Discrimination in Massage Therapy

Postby Nordic1 on Fri May 05, 2006 7:46 pm

Caoimhan wrote:This really burns me up, seeing as how many more companies these days are avoiding the high expense of providing medical (and other) benefits, by only working with contractors. Now, it looks like they can discriminate, too.


I can really relate to how you feel. During the first 4-5 years that I was doing massage full-time, the discrimination against male therapists used to really bother me. Sometimes it was very subtle, but on two occasions about 8-9 years ago I had chiropractors that I used to go to for adjustments tell me to my face that they would never even consider hiring a male massage therapist. As a result of those comments I decided to fire them and made it a policy of mine to no longer go to chiropractors who discriminate against male massage therapists.
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I dDo Understand

Postby Brian on Thu Aug 03, 2006 7:58 am

I can understand how you feel as I am a male therapist who gets left out too often because of my sex. At the same time, when I decided to expand my practice and add a therapist (I was the only one here at that point), I specifically asked for a female therapist. I was trying not to be discriminatory, but at the same time, the practiev already had a male therapist. What I was trying to do was get a piece of the business that I can not get myself.
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Re: Legal Discrimination in Massage Therapy

Postby RelaxandRejuvenate on Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:13 am

[quote="Caoimhan"]seeing as how many more companies these days are avoiding the high expense of providing medical (and other) benefits, by only working with contractors. [quote]

This really burns me up...

1) contractors are paid a higher rate than employees. Companies are just moving high costs from one column to the other, but it costs companies about the same.

2) the main reason companies are avoiding the traditional employee relationships is because whacko legislatures and court systems - and CA is a prime offender - are driving up the cost of doing business to such a ridiculous level. Our Workers Comp insurance in CA is 5%. 5 Freakin' % because someone with only 100 hours of training - and no clue about body mechanics - can get a massage license and throw out their back "on the job". Worst part is, CA courts have made awards to IC's claiming Workers Comp. How the hell does that work? But we have to cover our IC's with Worker's Comp now.

Employees have a drug problem? Companies have to have an EAP. Employees don't show up for work? Employers have to compensate customers with discounts, comps or risk losing them. Then when you fire someone for being irresponsible, you can't warn other potential employers via the traditional reference check or you will get SUED and LOSE for telling the truth about why you fired someone.
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Postby fudja / aka Greatlakes on Thu Aug 03, 2006 12:42 pm

I can see a man's POV on this matter.

Truth of the matter is tho, that nowadays, if given the choice, most clients prefer a female MT. If a massage or spa business has clients who prefer females, it doesnt make sense to hire males.

I have spoke with some of my regular clients about the troubles males have in this business. Some really dont care if their MT is male or female and some do.

Most types of massage are performed in the nude or near nude. Some people feel a bit vulnerable like this. You cannot force someone to get a massage from a male MT when they dont want it. That is not discrimination, its personal choice. You are not serving them food at McDonalds, you are touching their body. A person has a right to decide who massages them.

In a massage type business environment, I believe a company has a right to choose not to hire males. Businesses are in business to make money. What good is it to hire someone who few people want to be massaged by??

Now, in a large spa setting, I believe a male MT would have a better chance. But, in a small office, it is taking more of a chance. If you dont give the client what they want, they will go some where else to find it.

I have heard of many male MT's specializing in such modalities as sports, Thai, Rolfing, Myotherapy, chair massage, etc... most of these are done fully dressed of course, which makes many people more comfortable with a male MT.

It reminds me of gynocologists. 30 years ago, there were practically zero female OBGYNs. Now, that there are many more women in the medical field, women prefer to be seen by a female MD or OBGYN.

Massage is coming around quickly all over the US. Education is the key to helping clients know that a male MT can help them as much as a female MT. Even after the education, the client still has the choice.

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Yup

Postby bodyinspirit on Wed Aug 09, 2006 1:14 pm

I know many male therapists who have saught employment and been told point plank "we are not hiring men"

For a feild that claims to be filed with non judgemental open minded people I have found massage therapists to be one of the most judgemental groups I have ever interacted with...

Oh well I just fix my clients pain and try to ignore alot of what they have been told by other therapists...
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Postby bodyinspirit on Wed Aug 09, 2006 1:16 pm

[quote="Greatlakes"]I can see a man's POV on this matter.

Truth of the matter is tho, that nowadays, if given the choice, most clients prefer a female MT. If a massage or spa business has clients who prefer females, it doesnt make sense to hire males.

I have spoke with some of my regular clients about the troubles males have in this business. Some really dont care if their MT is male or female and some do.

Most types of massage are performed in the nude or near nude. Some people feel a bit vulnerable like this. You cannot force someone to get a massage from a male MT when they dont want it. That is not discrimination, its personal choice. You are not serving them food at McDonalds, you are touching their body. A person has a right to decide who massages them.

In a massage type business environment, I believe a company has a right to choose not to hire males. Businesses are in business to make money. What good is it to hire someone who few people want to be massaged by??

Now, in a large spa setting, I believe a male MT would have a better chance. But, in a small office, it is taking more of a chance. If you dont give the client what they want, they will go some where else to find it.

I have heard of many male MT's specializing in such modalities as sports, Thai, Rolfing, Myotherapy, chair massage, etc... most of these are done fully dressed of course, which makes many people more comfortable with a male MT.

It reminds me of gynocologists. 30 years ago, there were practically zero female OBGYNs. Now, that there are many more women in the medical field, women prefer to be seen by a female MD or OBGYN.

Massage is coming around quickly all over the US. Education is the key to helping clients know that a male MT can help them as much as a female MT. Even after the education, the client still has the choice.

Christine[/quote]



There have also been studies that show most clients men and women prefer male doctors to female...should hospitals not hire female doctors on that baisis?

just curious
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Re: Yup

Postby moogie on Thu Aug 10, 2006 3:01 pm

Pete wrote:I have heard many comments on and off of this board that it's the way that choice is presented that really affects whether someone is going to have a preference. ie: "Your appointment is going to be with a male therapist. Is that ok?" would make even me trepidatious about that MT. (Actually it would make me not want to go to that business at all really.)


The way we deal with this is when a client books with any therapist (male or female) we would confirm all the details by say "so I have you down for Friday the 11th at 2pm with <insert therapist's name> for a one hour massage." This is said in the same tone whether the therapist's name is Angie, Mary, Joe or Pete. We would never say "is it ok?" that you've booked you with Joe.....that would imply that there is something wrong with Joe.

Sometimes people would respond that no, they didn't want to be with a male therapist and we would move them to someone else. We have had a couple of therapists whose names are androgynous (Marti, Pat, Chris etc) and if people were concerned about the sex of their therapist they would ask "is that a man or a woman."

How things are presented do make a big difference in how they are received. However, sometimes they can be presented in the best way and the client can still refuse them.

I think Pete had the right idea to take control of things himself and to create his own opportunities.

It is much harder in this profession for men. That's a shame and hopefully things will change as time goes on.

Angie
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Postby RelaxandRejuvenate on Fri Aug 11, 2006 3:58 am

Let's not be naive...discrimination in hiring happens every day. The difference being some business owners in the massage/spa biz are dumb enough to say it out loud while others are much more subtle.

But I disagree that this is discrimination. So long as it is legal for businesses to cater only to men or women (see Biz & Mktg threads about For Women Only choices) or for consumers to specifiy gender of their service provider, then this situation is in no way discrimination.

And it is not the same as picking a doctor - MD's gender are not hidden behind some anonymous spa or business name. You go see Dr. So and So, and they even list their gender on your HMO/PPO website searches. You know who you are getting - not so walking into a spa.
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Discrimination

Postby bodyinspirit on Fri Aug 11, 2006 5:21 am

I worked loading trucks for a while...
The truckers would try and get the guys to load the trucks because they tended to be much faster...they could never voice this opinion outloud or they would have been hell to pay...

The truckers were independant contractors should they have been able to say.."I only want men to load my truck?"
The company would have had to change its hiring practices and not hired women. Could you imagine what a woman applying for a loading job would have done if she was told "sorry our customers prefer men to load their trucks, so we don't hire women."

The customer has a sex preference...hmmmm

Sounds like people can't recognize discrimination when it benefits them...
Just human nature really....

It's a fact in our field...which many people recognize and deal with it's just a little frustrating when its denied...
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Postby StephenCMT on Tue Sep 05, 2006 2:44 pm

Discrimination hurts a business, in my experience. The big spa that I left gave me the runaround about hiring a Male MT when I first started and I dealt with some receptionists that clearly refused to book female clients with me due to their cultural/religious beliefs. Four and a half years later after I left that place, they're doing all they can to keep my clientele from following me and immediately hired another MALE MT to replace me...and he even kinda looks like me which is...odd. LOL

Why did they do this? Because they didn't want to lose the business they had from clientele (mostly female) preferring a Male MT over a female or not caring about preference either way. Business that they wouldn't have drummed up had it not been for a stubborn Male MT refusing to back down and give in to the "most clients prefer females" line.

Don't forget the variables involved in the statistics, folks. Much like an above poster mentioned with with female doctors gaining preference as opposed to male doctors...do you think they just got their Certs and there was a bumrush of patients for them? Do you think they were welcomed with open arms by every medical practice instantly? Have you considered what those female doctors went through dealing with sexual bias not just from fellow doctors but clients, both male and female, questioning their credentials simply because of an old belief that females would be inferior in that type of role? It's discrimination whether people want to recognize it or not. And, had there not been practices that made the right decision to hire on female doctors, there wouldn't be as many of them today.

Yes, discrimination happens every day in all sorts of ways. I don't know if this business already had Male MT's but, if they didn't, then it was discrimination whether out of choice or ignorance. They're not only a part of the ongoing problem but are actually hurting themselves by not giving their clients a choice in gender preference.
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Re: Discrimination

Postby RelaxandRejuvenate on Tue Sep 05, 2006 3:40 pm

bodyinspirit wrote: The truckers would try and get the guys to load the trucks because they tended to be much faster...


This is a performance issue. The company could establish an unloading standard which may or may not exclude women. Since many such services are charged by the hour, a trucker certainly can expect the fastest possible unloading crew. Your time is the trucker's money.
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Postby MT136 on Sun Sep 10, 2006 5:05 am

I gave up a long time ago trying to get a job in this field. I am both a MT and Nail Tech and while I have worked as a nail tech at a few places only one wanted me as an MT. The other places I was good enough to fill in when someone did not show or they had a corporate event or group but not all the time. So I developed a small private practice that I work par time and went back to my old profession of driving. To me fighting to work is not worth it. Let the world grow up first. And to top all this off most of my clients are female who tell me that they prefer a male mt.
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Postby sillypup on Sun Nov 04, 2007 6:47 pm

most my clients in the past prefer male therapist as the clients prefer good deep tissue work. I'm sure the clients are bias with my skills since females do good work too. Here's my experience with male vs. female therapist. I'm a male of course. If it weren't for past manager knowing people skills and hiring right people I wouldn't even be working at the spa that I just quit 2 months ago. the owner is sexist not liking male therapist. he would not even say hello or talk to them until they bring in money or many return clients. he wouldn't even hire male therapist. if he did, he would hire a gay one. of course I was the go to guy and gave him many clients and back end profits. now that I quite he hired an asian male that know energy work trying to emulate or copy my qualifications. of course that can't be done cuz i'm unique and passionate. the person he hired dabble into energy and not even passionate or know the body as much as me. I've talked to him when i was in the neighborhood when I went in to say hello. most owner or managers don't realize it's the person that makes the therapist not their training. what the newbie lack was experience, skills, knowledge of body and paying attention to detail as well as people skill. it's my nature to heal people and make them feel comfortable. it's natural for me. someone talented as me can't be replaced. before, the owner just wouldn't even hire males and look down on them. since I left he now just trying to copy someone who have same interest as me so that he can make the profits I bring. and if you curious to why I left, he was trying to boss me around about how I do my work and he didn't support me when a client lied and complain to get a refund. he have this satisfaction guarantee or money back. he didn't even question if the complaint was authentic. he trusted the lies she told without even asking me what happen. she basically complain because there was traffic noise on the street and music wasn't to her liking. of course she said the massage was great but then complain when she went to receptionist to pay. Another thing is he said i'll fail in business when I told him it's about time for me to branch out on my own. the other people that left said he said the same thing telling them that they will fail at other places when they want to expand their horizons. so how could I work for someone that belittle and not support me or others. and he said i'm your friend to my face after saying that. friend support each other not discourage success in life. so i think the main issue is that most business owner don't know how to hire therapist or have people skill, they just look at profits and do trial and error. they hire mostly females because most owners like to walk all over them. one of the biggest reason is that they hire females for pampering massage. that is their marketed target in the spa industry. you rarely find a good therapist knowing deep tissue in a spa. also, most places are in fear of hiring someone competent. they want someone they can control. if you think sexism is bad. think about the racism i have to go through. most don't consider me because i'm asian. they like to hire american name therapist. I rarely see any asian therapist that isn't in the chinese clinic. most therapist are whites. the old approach of sending resume don't work. you have to do lots of networking and meeting the people. this is a people skill field so to get notice is important. only way is to meet in person. if a guy do the hiring or male owner. he'll mostly end up hiring female. all the places i've interviewed, the male owner wants female. not only that, i can sense discrimination about hiring only white ethnic. bottom line, discrimination exist. just have to move on along. eventually those that discriminate will fade away because they are idiots who is losing good business.
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Postby moogie on Sun Nov 04, 2007 8:28 pm

Sillypup,

Just a little suggestion, your post would be much easier to read if you were to break it up in to paragraphs.

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Postby YFChoice on Sun Nov 04, 2007 9:19 pm

Dude, try putting in some paragraph indention and other assorted punctuations......your message is completely lost because it is just TOO hard to read.
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Postby CheeseIsGood on Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:26 pm

I currently work at a high end casino in Reno, in the health spa, and I see a huge amount of discrimination every day. Our appointment books are split into men's and women's books. When answering the phone, the attendant has been instructed to ask "Do you have a preference between male or female therapist?" They refuse to book us, as males, any body treatments such as scrubs and wraps, unless they're for men. I have to make my own appointments, because the attendants usually ignore the men's appointment book.

It's incredibly frustrating, especially having gone through extensive training to gain the knowledge to do massage. We're discriminated against by men because they think we're all homosexuals and will try molesting them. We're discriminated against by women because they think we're all perverts and will try molesting them. And the worst part is, there's no way to show them that yes, we ARE able to do a professional and thorough massage.

I am grateful every day to the people that allow me to give them a massage and don't care if I'm a male. But when the place of work acknowledges that yes, some people have a preference, it robs us of so much more than work. It robs us of our dignity. It robs us of the chance to show people what we're capable of doing.

A question I have is, what is the prescedent on lawsuits regarding gender discrimination on the employer's behalf, specifically towards massage? Is there anything that can be done in regards to employers refusing to even interview a prospective employee due to gender? From what I can tell, any type of gender discrimination is illegal.
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Postby CheeseIsGood on Mon Dec 01, 2008 7:28 pm

I currently work at a high end casino in Reno, in the health spa, and I see a huge amount of discrimination every day. Our appointment books are split into men's and women's books. When answering the phone, the attendant has been instructed to ask "Do you have a preference between male or female therapist?" They refuse to book us, as males, any body treatments such as scrubs and wraps, unless they're for men. I have to make my own appointments, because the attendants usually ignore the men's appointment book.

It's incredibly frustrating, especially having gone through extensive training to gain the knowledge to do massage. We're discriminated against by men because they think we're all homosexuals and will try molesting them. We're discriminated against by women because they think we're all perverts and will try molesting them. And the worst part is, there's no way to show them that yes, we ARE able to do a professional and thorough massage.

I am grateful every day to the people that allow me to give them a massage and don't care if I'm a male. But when the place of work acknowledges that yes, some people have a preference, it robs us of so much more than work. It robs us of our dignity. It robs us of the chance to show people what we're capable of doing.

A question I have is, what is the prescedent on lawsuits regarding gender discrimination on the employer's behalf, specifically towards massage? Is there anything that can be done in regards to employers refusing to even interview a prospective employee due to gender? From what I can tell, any type of gender discrimination is illegal.
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Postby JasonE on Mon Dec 08, 2008 12:31 am

I once submitted a resume to a massage center that I knew had a practice of not hiring male MTs. The receptionist had felt my work and strongly recommended me to the owner, and they often had requests for male therapists. With my training and professionalism, I was curious whether I could get through to the owner and perhaps dispel some myths about male MTs.

The fact that the receptionists had a script for explaining why no male MTs were available indicated that it would be an uphill battle, but I like challenges. As it turns out, I had a nice telephone conversation with the owner, but she informed me that she was fully staffed and not hiring at that time. I never actually met with her.

The sad thing is that the receptionist had told me the business was shortstaffed and having trouble filling vacancies with qualified MTs. So while the owner's tone was very friendly and polite, I knew she was lying through her teeth; the phone conversation was simply a polite way to cover her butt. That, or maybe she was hoping I was a female named Jason... :roll: :lol:

It's hard to prove sex discrimination in hiring practices unless you have hard evidence. In that case, I could have obtained a copy of the phone scripts regarding no male MTs, and that might have made a case. But ultimately I decided not to bother... it was not a place I would want to practice, and I had more attractive options to pursue. By turning away male MTs despite client requests, they were hurting themselves, and that's just fine.

Ultimately, the best revenge was to find another place to practice and take away some of their business by being successful myself.
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Postby Highlander on Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:13 am

Jason,

I don't always agree with your viewpoints but on this issue I'm with you 100%.

When I run into discrimination against males, :roll: I just smile, shake my head and forget about it. Nowadays I concentrate on building my private practice and don't waste time trying to get work from people that don't want my services.

They say that living well is the best revenge. 8) This is absolutely true. I believe very time I get a new client I'm disproving a stereotype against males in this profession. :)
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Postby StephenCMT on Thu Dec 18, 2008 4:30 pm

Hey, gang!

I've been gone a bit due to some big life changes including moving to Europe to be with my German GF, working for a very ritzy hotel...and being offered the Lead position after only 6 months of working there despite beginning with the warning, "you might get less clientele since you're a male"...and reopening my private practice here as well. It's been one heck of a ride from my first client to this point in my career but I wanted to chime in on this from my perspective after dealing with this from day one.

Before coming here to post this, I was JUST told by a business opportunity here in Germany who services celebs and VIPS in many areas of the world that, even though she loves getting massages by males, her clients prefer females only. Funny that, huh? I come to "liberal" Europe and hear the same stuff I did the past 8 years in the states? And from a fellow American of all things. LOL The funny thing is that my Euro clients (except for some from the Britain area) don't even consider gender preferences.

Was this woman discriminating? Nope. She was just being honest. Do clients discriminate? Possibly to probably, but also understand that there are some religions that prevent contact with a person of the opposite sex besides your spouse. And, as long as as 1) Humans 2) Choice and 3) Money are a factor in provided services, this type of thing is gonna happen whether we view it as discrimination or not. It's their money and their choice if the businesses give it to them, right or wrong.

It sucks but you're reading the words of (yet another) male CMT that's run the whole gambit of biased receptionists, jealous husbands, clients asking me to "act gay" when their man comes around (hilarious story!) and a psycho co-worker trying to exploit my gender vulnerability in the profession by crying wolf and making me go through months of drama that had polarized male and female CMTs in my area against eachother but actually turned out to boost my reputation exponentially (and equally lower her rep...karma is glorious!) when the truth came out and expose that discrimination is rarely one-sided.

You know what immediately came to my mind after getting the turn-down from this honest woman? I thought, "Well...luckily I have other Celeb/VIP clientele of my own that gave me a chance due to my reputation for good work". And THAT's where you want to get to.

Discrimination be damned, fellas. Do what I did and do your thing the Tiger Woods way. Let your talent/skill do the talking for you. The Country Clubs had no choice but to eventually let him in and the same will happen with you in the closed minds of others. Hunker down and build your own reputation from the ground up...with every client from the spa that takes you, with every client you work on outside of that type of job, with every grain of knowledge that pushes your career forward. The road is gonna be tough for many of you like it was for me but, if you really love this profession and devote yourself to making your craft stand out as top-notch, you'll be suprised at just how many of the stigmas and stereotypes melt away from the minds of people who count...the ones that become and stay your regular clientele.

Bottom line, life isn't fair in that some people are given opportunities while others have to earn them. But guess which ones feel better about themselves when all is said and done?

Earn it, gentlemen! :)
Last edited by StephenCMT on Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Booking male and female therapists...legal action?

Postby mzidank on Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:13 am

Im a male therapist working part time in a Spa setting. I think the practice of asking the client when booking if they "prefer a male or Female" therapist is inappropriate and discriminatory. It also helps to perpetuate myths about massage and to sexualize the industry.

I think the AMTA is negligent in not putting some energy into dealing with this matter.

When booking an appointment for a massage a client should be told who is available at that particular time-PERIOD. IF they specify they have a preference of a male or female, only then should that request be satisfied.

It is NOT the job of a spa receptionist to "sell" the staff as MALE or FEMALE.

We are massage therapists, professional and capable of working with both sexes.

I would appreciate any input and help in changing this practice...

Thanks!
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Postby softy515 on Fri Dec 19, 2008 1:21 pm

I would think its easier for a spa to find out before hand if a client has a preference, rather then have a client come in for massage, see someone of the opposite sex introduce themselves then the client is freaking out. That makes it hard for the spa to quickly move employees around to suit that client.

Personally I will go to a male and have countless times. BUT I know that male or met him before hand. I would not walk into a spa and let them schedule me with any Tom Dick or Harry they have working there.
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Postby RelaxandRejuvenate on Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:43 pm

softy515 wrote:I would not walk into a spa and let them schedule me with any Tom Dick or Harry they have working there.


But you would let them schedule you with any Terri, Diane or Holly they have working there?
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