Hotel housekeepers use panic buttons to feel safe on the job – abc news

In a statement to ABC News, Rosanna Maietta, the senior vice president at the American Hotel and Lodging Association, said: “The safety and security of our employees and guests has always been paramount for our industry. On safety and security, there is no compromise… No industry can be completely immune to dealing with sexual harassment. But the hotel industry will continue to work, day in and day out, to ensure America’s hotels are secure places for all those who work in and visit them.” Read the full statement at the bottom of the story.

In 2011, the risks that hotel housekeepers can face on the job became international news when Dominique Strauss-Kahn, then the head of the International Monetary Fund, was accused of sexually assaulting a maid at a luxury hotel in New York when she went in to clean his room.

He said the encounter was consensual. He faced criminal charges of attempted rape, sex abuse, forcible touching and unlawful imprisonment but those charges were dropped due to “substantial credibility issues" with the housekeeper, according to prosecutors. Strauss-Kahn later settled a civil case with the housekeeper for an undisclosed amount.

The incident helped motivate New York City’s union hotels to provide maids with panic buttons. In 2012, the city’s hotel workers’ union, the New York Hotel Trades Council, A.F.L.-C.I.O., won a provision in their contract to provide workers who enter guest rooms alone with emergency safety devices.

Over the past five years, hotels in Washington, D.C., and Seattle have followed New York’s lead, outfitting specific staff with panic buttons. In Chicago, panic button systems are scheduled to be implemented in hotels by July 1, 2018. Union discussions are underway with casino hotels in Las Vegas. And groups in cities like Miami Beach, Florida and Long Beach, California hope to get support for panic button ordinances this year.

“The safety and security of our employees and guests has always been paramount for our industry. On safety and security, there is no compromise. The hotel industry develops and continually reviews policies and procedures that promote a safe working environment for our employees and guests alike. Many hotels have already implemented practices and technologies best suited to their properties and working with safety experts to update and refine protocols and procedures that keep both employees and guests safe. The American Hotel & Lodging Association is proud to build upon this important work and look for ways to coordinate solutions industry-wide.

As part of this effort, AHLA has partnered with nationally recognized nonprofits such as the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence and developed tailored trainings for our industry and its employees. The hotel industry has in place procedures and protocols for employees around reporting and prevention, and these are continuously reviewed and updated. Last year, AHLA created a task force to examine current procedures and recommend industry practices, including identifying and further developing emerging technology solutions that enable employees to call quickly for help in the case of emergency.