Massage therapy has come to the forefront of the therapeutic world as an effective means of dealing with a number of ailments, illnesses and conditions.
The practice itself is an intimate one, requiring registered massage therapists to have hands-on physical contact with their clients.
Due to the intimate nature of the therapy, there is always the risk that a massage therapist may find themselves facing accusations and charges of malpractice.
Here are some dangers that a massage therapist may face in their line of work as well as the steps involved should they face criminal charges:
The Dangers That Massage Therapists Face:
1. Contract Issues
Registered massage therapists often have a contract between themselves and the facility they conduct their practice in.
Contracts are taken very seriously and if a registered massage therapist is found to have breached the contract between themselves and the practice owner, they could end up charged and in court.
As a registered massage therapist, it is important to abide by this contract. Be sure to read it thoroughly before signing and periodically review the contract with the facility owner to avoid any confusion.
2. Professional Misconduct
Professional misconduct is defined as any conduct that does not meet the minimum expectations of integrity, professionalism and client-focused care.
Examples of professional misconduct include sharing confidential client information with third parties and either intentionally or negligently causing injury to a client.
Be sure to protect client information and conduct your therapy with due care.
3. Sexual Misconduct
Those who seek massage therapy place themselves in a vulnerable physical situation. Because of this, clients can misinterpret physical touch and body language as sexual misconduct.
Being charged with sexual misconduct can lead to a civil suit or criminal charges and the loss of your professional license.
Intentional sexual misconduct includes any non-therapeutic touching and inappropriate comments.
Protect yourself from sexual misconduct claims by thoroughly and clearly explaining to your client the therapy you are about to administer and how you are trained to administer it.
4. Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment differs from sexual misconduct but is also considered a serious offense.
Body language, sexual innuendos, unwanted physical attention or touching and “quid pro quo” offers of something in return for sexual favors are all considered to be sexual harassment.
The important thing is to maintain a professional attitude and keep a professional and pleasant tone when speaking to clients.
What Happens if You Are Facing Criminal Charges?
Sometimes the worst can happen and you find yourself facing charges for misconduct.
The first step you should take is to hire an experienced criminal attorney before making any statements regarding the matter, even to police. You should also abstain from discussing the situation with anyone other than your lawyer.
Your lawyer will help you through the next steps in the proceedings. It is important that you adhere to this process.
Typically, you will appear in court to be read the charges. After that, the prosecution is responsible for providing you and your attorney a disposition detailing the evidence against you.
Once that information is reviewed, you will required to appear in court to enter a plea. If you enter a plea of “not-guilty”, the case is then moved to trial.
Your lawyer will guide you and aid you in gathering the necessary evidence for your case.