9/8/21—As technology increasingly permeates our everyday lives, more problems can be resolved through the innovation it provides. One sector of workers who benefit from incorporating emergency management systems are the hotel and casino industry, including housekeepers and others who enter guest quarters alone, in order to complete their daily work. While housekeeping may seem like a low-risk occupation, many underestimate the harassment and assault these workers face every day.
Unite Here, a union for Chicago’s hospitality industry, surveyed1 approximately 500 members who work in hotels and casinos as cocktail servers or housekeepers, to get a better idea of the big picture. Sixty-five percent of casino servers reported being touched without permission by a guest, with 58% of hotel workers and 77% of casino workers noting they’d been sexually harassed. Forty-nine percent of these workers said guests had exposed themselves to them, with over half feeling unsafe on the job following these incidents. “Frankly, I don’t think much of the public understands what housekeepers go through just to clean these rooms and carry out the work,” said Maria Elena Durazo, a labor leader with Unite Here.2
In 2018,3 the sexual assault of a 51-year-old housekeeper at Bally’s Casino was the final straw, ushering in the first state law to require panic buttons for isolated workers. Some hotel chains, such as Marriot and Hilton, announced their intentions to provide this technology to its workers in all states, regardless of if it was required by state law or not. Housekeepers involved reported a sense of relief, knowing they could feel safe on the job. “If you think something is wrong, you can push this and help will come,” said Tropicana housekeeper Daksha Parikh. “It’s a layer of protection for us. Sometimes it’s a long floor of rooms and you may be the only one working there.” Another housekeeper, Iris Sanchez of Caesars Palace, noted how much she appreciates the backup while on duty, as she had previously been charged at by a guest’s dogs upon opening a door. A veteran housekeeper of over 3 decades, Cecilia said, “It’s more security, and more support. Trust me. You shouldn’t be scared to work.” In fact, 96% of housekeepers surveyed said they would feel safer with a panic button.1
With the immense impact technology can have on health and safety in the workplace, there’s no doubt more employers can benefit from implementing IoT solutions for their team. While the first panic button law originated in New Jersey, additional states and cities have followed suit, such as Illinois, Las Vegas,4 and Washington state.5 Implementing an effective emergency management system, like the AlertTrace Emergency Management solution, can help businesses comply with current or future regulations in place, ensuring improved outcomes for their team in the event of an incident in the workplace.
The Washington State Labor department5 goes into detail about what type of features an effective emergency management system should have, such as being simple to activate, without a password or start-up time, and designed to be worn or carried by the user, via lanyard or clip. The Emergency Management System from AlertTrace incorporates all of these features, and delivers critical panic alert details, such as key location and facility data, streamlining emergency communication and cutting down on response time. Contact us today to learn more about how AlertTrace can improve health and safety for your employees.
1 www.handsoffpantson.org, UNITE HERE LOCAL 1, July 2016, www.handsoffpantson.org/wp-content/uploads/HandsOffReportWeb.pdf.
2 Jamieson, Dave. “’He Was Masturbating… i Felt like Crying’: What Housekeepers Endure to Clean Hotel Rooms.” HuffPost, 20 Nov. 2017, www.huffpost.com/entry/housekeeper-hotel-sexual-harassment_n_5a0f438ce4b0e97dffed3443.
3 “New Jersey Becomes 1st State to MANDATE Panic Buttons for Hotel Room Cleaners.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 11 June 2019, www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/new-jersey-becomes-1st-state-mandate-panic-buttons-hotel-room-n1016221.
4 Theodros, Abby. “Las Vegas HOTEL-CASINOS Begin to Supply Employees with Panic Buttons.” FOX5 Las Vegas, 23 Aug. 2018, www.fox5vegas.com/news/las-vegas-hotel-casinos-begin-to-supply-employees-with-panic-buttons/article_f5d9ce5b-fe84-5a67-8629-0a19d7661dc7.html.
5 “Questions and Answers: Panic Buttons: Guidance for Employers in the Hospitality Industry.” Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Dec. 2019, lni.wa.gov/forms-publications/F417-287-000.pdf.