Ways to Spot & Stop a Perv: Part I of IIMads Ambrose
I don’t know why…. I don’t wanna know why… but some people choose to be a real perv however and whenever they can. Apparently for some, beauty and wellness services are an opportunity to take advantage of a situation. [insert eye-roll emoticon here]
As workers and technicians in the industry, we’re already drained of emotional and physical energy at the end of our fully booked week. We do not need any extra potentially triggering experiences to harm our capacity for this work. I’m talking about sexual harassment from clients or potential clients. This should be taken very seriously, but at times, it can be difficult to know when someone has crossed a line in an industry of personal services.
After six years as an esthetician, four of those owning my own salon as a sole-proprietor, I have experienced countless forms of harassment and have learned a few simple ways to spot a perv and shut-down inappropriate behavior without being unprofessional. In this two-part blog series, I will be sharing the tricks I’ve learned along the way that have helped me and my employees stay safe through the years and stop unacceptable behavior before it escalates.
RULE NUMBER ONE: BELIEVE YOUR EMPLOYEES AND COWORKERS.
Make it a policy to always trust and side with your employee and colleagues. Your fear of losing a client/customer should not overrule the safety of your workplace and believing survivors. And yes, they are survivors. Sexual harassment can lead to sexual assault and even potentially life-threatening physical harm. When a technician has the confidence that they will be supported by their superiors, they can make swift professional decisions to prevent possible harassment and assault without fear of reprimand.
CREATE A COMFORTABLE WORKPLACE ENVIRONMENT
Allow for open discussion in employee meetings and encourage your team members to share any questionable situations or experiences that have taken place at the salon/spa. It’s important people learn from other team members’ experiences and will also help serve as an identifier for anyone who should be eighty-sixed from the salon because of repeated offenses.
KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS!
Know the businesses around you and form a familiarity of issues around your workplace so you can easily spot potential offenders. There’s a good chance a potential offender will hit up multiple locations and have tried something at another salon/spa Security is best in numbers. Plus, like, get to know your freakin neighbor and don’t be so isolated!
HAVE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES IN PLACE
I can’t stress this enough, having procedures in place for yourself and/or your employees will keep your business as safe as possible. It is also great to be able to say, “Sorry, sir, that is just our policy!”. Even as a sole-proprietor, this will set a higher standard for yourself and what you are willing to put up with. And you will waste less time dealing with these fools!
Make your procedures match what kind of harassment might take place and develop it as issues arise. They should be reviewed on a regular basis to make sure things are updated.
As a salon owner, you are responsible for creating a safe environment for your team members and for yourself. While you can’t always avoid unwelcome conduct from clients, you can make sure that you have the needed policies and procedures in place to address it quickly and ensure your team members feel empowered to take the needed steps to prevent it from happening again.
Don’t forget, there is power in numbers! Improving safety in our community must rely on building relationships with and learning from our peers. Stay on alert for potential repeat offenders in your area and share your experiences when you see them.