Former B.C. Massage Therapist Disciplined for Retaliation After Negative Review

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Jeremy Jakobsze, a former massage therapist from Maple Ridge, approximately 37 kilometres east of Vancouver, has faced disciplinary actions following a series of events stemming from a negative online review.

Retribution for a Negative Review

In June 2020, a prospective patient, identified as “AA” in official documents, visited Jakobsze’s clinic. After a disagreement over not wearing a mask, which weren’t mandated at the time, Jakobsze refused to treat her. In response, AA posted a negative review on Google.

Reacting to the review, Jakobsze allegedly contacted AA’s employer, accusing her of having mental health issues. He also lodged a complaint with her professional college, alleging fraud and “gender-based harassment”, and accused her of hate crimes in communications with the RCMP.

“He was relentless in his campaign against her, forcing her to respond to a complaint to her regulator, and forcing her to endure the embarrassment of having her mental health questioned in communications to her employer,” noted a recent penalty decision.

Claims and Counterclaims

Jakobsze confirmed that AA is a dental hygienist. In an aftermath of her negative review, Jakobsze’s complaints against AA were dismissed by the College of Dental Hygienists of B.C., labelling the matter as “fundamentally a business dispute” and unrelated to AA’s profession. His application for review by the Health Professions Review Board was also denied, citing it wasn’t filed within the required timeframe.

“Engaging in a campaign of retribution against a prospective patient as the respondent did would reasonably be considered by members of the profession to be dishonourable, disgraceful, and unprofessional,” commented the three-person panel in a decision made in July.

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Further Misconduct

During the course of the investigation by the College of Massage Therapists of B.C. (CMTBC), Jakobsze repeatedly insulted the staff, including referring to one of them as “someone with a mental delay.” He also accused the college of having an anti-male bias and claimed that he was “publicly shamed” by the institution.

“He repeatedly insulted and derided them while they were simply [fulfilling] their statutory functions,” the panel highlighted.

Furthermore, in the email exchanges, Jakobsze accused one official of having a vendetta against him and suggested she was targeting him due to her own “sexist motives.” He even went on to label the investigation process as a “kangaroo court.”

History of Misconduct

The disciplinary panel noted that this wasn’t Jakobsze’s first encounter with disciplinary actions. In the past, he received a warning letter in 2016 for failing to obtain informed consent from a female patient. By 2017, he was advised to take remedial classes due to “inappropriate and unprofessional communications” with WorkSafeBC staff. Another warning was given in 2018 concerning “sexual content” in his interactions with another female patient.

Penalty and Next Steps

Jakobsze, who resigned his license amid the investigation, has now been ordered by CMTBC to pay $12,000 in fines and costs, receive a formal reprimand, and would face a 10-month suspension should he choose to return to the profession.

Responding to the CBC, Jakobsze conveyed his plans to petition Health Minister Adrian Dix to not only overturn the disciplinary findings but also to remove the college’s board and executive.