resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
Optimism = Compassion = Trust
A randomized clinical trial recently published online in JAMA Oncology examined how patients viewed their doctor based upon how the practitioner presented bad news to the patient.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
April, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 04
Are You Under Contract?
By Jenn Sommermann, LCMT
Unfortunately, it's still not the norm for massage business owners to have employment contracts with their massage therapists. Although things are changing and employers are more informed than ever, the average business owner still does not protect themselves or their staff with a written contract.We previously have been a more lax profession and our personalities, by nature, are trusting and friendly. However, as our industry has become more professional and our business training savvier, we are starting to understand how important a working contract is. A handshake won't do the trick anymore. Every massage therapist should have a contract, either as an independent contractor or employee.
I wish I could tell you this is preventive in nature, and for the most part it is. But, as a business teacher and coach, I hear too many stories that prove how important this concept is. I was inspired to write this article because a former student called with his "nightmare story." It seems an entire staff of massage therapists was fired because they wrote a letter of complaint about a recent promotional venue at the spa at which they were employed. The spa offered a 50 percent discount during a two-week period, and the cut came strictly from the therapists' pay. When the therapists wrote a letter and complained, a meeting was called. That same day, the therapists (I think there were 10) were questioned, fired and told to vacate the premises immediately. My former student called me to discuss if this was legal. I asked, of course, if there was a contract.
The good news is that he said there was a contract, sort of. It came in the form of a 38-page handbook for employees. However, nothing was negotiated and there was no room for discussion. It was a "take it or leave it" handbook and had to be signed by the employee. There also was a clause in it stating the employer had the right to change things as they saw fit. The bad news is it wasn't really a contract and did not have the "right" information in it to support both the employer and the therapist. A truly fair contract will support and protect both parties.
I can't stress how important a contract is, as a starting place for negotiation and as a concrete design of what the working relationship and model will be for the duration of employment.
Here is where it went wrong. First, there was, in fact, information about promotions. However, it only stated that the establishment had the right to run them. There was no description about how they would impact the therapist or their pay. Often, promotions are run and the house takes the hit, or a combination of the house and therapist will be affected. If the massage therapist were to assume the entire financial burden, wouldn't you want to know that going into the job? That is not to say you wouldn't work for someplace that assigned the financial burden to you. Rather, the information would be helpful so you could budget and/or plan your finances. Perhaps you rely on other sources of income and two weeks of a pay cut are fine, if it brings in more volume and is good for business. The converse side is, if you rely completely on this one paycheck for your personal finances, this could be a problem. Maybe you could not afford such a change in salary. Either way, knowledge is power and it would be helpful to know for future financial planning.
Second, there should have been a paragraph detailing termination agreements. If the business owner wants to fire you and end your job immediately, that is their right, but it should be in writing. Similarly, what if you are not happy? Are you allowed to walk, or are you obligated to give some notice? I am not an advocate for walking off the job. I always think the right thing to do is give at least two weeks notice. Whatever you and your employer decide, it should be detailed in the contract. Wouldn't it be helpful to know these things before you start working someplace?
Lastly, how are disputes handled at places of employment? A good contract will detail this in the unfortunate event that it happens. How stressful is it to think you cannot have a voice at your place of employment for fear of losing your job? If something like this were made clear in the contract/handbook, perhaps there would have been a forum to vent their grievances instead of everyone being fired.
There are many other topics I would suggest for an employment contract. And when it comes to contracts, the more information there is the better. Take any uncertainty out of the employment situation and detail the working relationship and model as much as possible. I have detailed three topics for you, given the unfortunate example from my student. In addition, I have named the other two on my Top 5 and provided this list for your reference.
Topics for written working contracts:
This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a start. I strongly suggest you get your hands on The Business of Massage by the American Massage Therapy Association and use it as a resource. It's an excellent book you will use for years to come. As ambassadors for the field, we must encourage employers to have working contracts. If they don't, suggest it. Be proactive. Draw one up yourself. If they don't like it or won't sign it, ask yourself, "Do I really want to work here?"
Above all, protect yourself and stay focused.
Click here for more information about Jenn Sommermann, LCMT.
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