Hotel Workers Need Sexual Harassment Protection, Say Lawmakers

According to The New York Times, since the high-profile attack on a housekeeper at a New York City luxury hotel took place several weeks ago, New York politicians have proposed two pieces of legislation to crack down on hotel room crimes and quid pro quo sexual harassment in the hotel industry. A housekeeper has claimed that Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the IMF, sexually assaulted her while she was in his hotel room. A proposed law would require hotels to provide sexual harassment training to staff and managers, and protect employees from retaliation.

Recent events in New York have demonstrated a need for sexual harassment training and prevention for hotel employees. Many hotel workers are women who may be vulnerable to sexual crimes and harassment while at work. Some hotel workers may not even know all the types of harassment inflicted upon them at work.

Another proposed legislation would require hotels to provide panic buttons on their staff. Two New York hotels have said that they will invest in panic buttons for the staff. New York City’s largest hotel union wants to make a housekeeper’s job safer, recommending that a panic button would alert the front desk of an emergency such as attempted rape or other inappropriate behavior.

A former dean of a New York hospitality school said that hotels could have two housekeepers at all times, however, most hotels would not find it cost-effective especially in today’s economy.

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