In today’s world, the subject of personal privacy and what is considered an invasion of privacy are front and center. Some acts, like social media behemoths illegally sifting through our personal data in an effort to manipulate our behavior and spending patterns, clearly crosses the line. However, a part-time salon employee who gleans a customer’s cell phone number from her personal data in an effort to contact her for a date could be viewed in the same realm.
One of the best ways to protect yourself and your business from lawsuits and claims involving invasion of privacy is to first understand how it is defined, and then properly train all employees to recognize the warning signs and prevent such acts from occurring. In many cases, the fact that the business owner took preventative measures to properly train staff and design their business to ensure privacy, helped to limit their liability against such claims.
First, let’s start with the physical design of your business:
- Are the rooms where guests tan, use other spa services and all bathrooms secure and private?
• Can staff or another guest see into a room through a crack, seam or open space in a wall or door jamb?
• Are security cameras aimed away from tanning rooms and used only to monitor the lobby and common areas?
• Are walls high enough to prevent someone inside another tanning room from climbing on a chair or tanning unit to peer into adjacent rooms?
• Are there any mirrors or shiny objects that may reflect an image and allow someone to view a private area?
NOTE: If repairs need to be done during business hours, be sure that workers are not using ladders, etc. that would allow them to see into tanning rooms.
Next, let’s discuss proper staff training:
- Have all staff been instructed how to behave and interact with customers in a professional manner?
• Are all customer files, including
credit card information, phone numbers, addresses, etc. stored in a safe and secure manner?
NOTE:All staff with access to such info must be trained how to maintain and secure it, and instructed to never share such data or use it for illegal purposes.
• Are staff required to store cell phones during working hours and not use them when performing their job duties?
NOTE:Since all cell phones have cameras and recording devices, it would be a prudent practice to keep cell phones securely stowed away during working hours and clear of tanning and treatment rooms, etc.
• Prior to hiring them, have you properly screened all potential staff and conducted background checks?
NOTE: This practice may help reveal information regarding a person’s past that would indicate the propensity for unacceptable behavior in the workplace.
Salon guests have an expectation of “privacy” when they patronize your business and share their personal information as part of the customer profile. And, you as the business owner are legally bound and obligated to protect such info.
In the event that staff or a guest reports any act that could be construed as an invasion of privacy, it is your responsibility to document the act and take appropriate corrective actions.
The relaxed, friendly environment created in your salon is conducive to attracting appearance-conscious customers – yet, it also provides an atmosphere where even the most professional staff may unintentionally drop their guard and cross the line into the danger zone.
Be sure that your business insurance policy covers invasion of privacy and that the amount of coverage is sufficient to handle the cost of potential claims and litigation.
Next month, we will delve further into this topic and discuss additional methods of protecting your business from invasion of privacy claims.