Assemblymen Mazzeo (Vince) and Armato (John) are sponsoring a bill requiring hotels with at least 25 rooms to provide portable emergency contact devices or “panic buttons” to employees (i.e. housekeeping) to protect against inappropriate conduct by guests that make work conditions unsafe.
In a statement, Mazzeo said, “It is necessary that we ensure hotel employees are never subject to these situations.”
Local 54 President Bob McDevitt also voiced support for the bill, in the same statement, saying, “The time is now to fix this problem of staff personal security.”
The bill defines “panic button” as a “portable emergency contact device which an employee can quickly and easily activate to effectively summon immediate on-scene assistance from a security officer, manager or supervisor, or other appropriate hotel staff member.”
It requires the devices to be given to any employee assigned to work in guest rooms when no other employees are present.
It also seems to require the hotel to conduct an internal investigation when the button is used, but explicitly does not require the hotel employee to provide a certified statement, though what am I a lawyer?
The bill is A4439 in the Assembly. It’s S2986 in the Senate.
“Due to the unique nature of hotel work, hotel employees are particularly vulnerable to unsafe working conditions because they often work alone in hotel guest rooms, which sometimes may be occupied,” the bill reads. “This solitary work places them at risk of assault, including sexual assault, and sexual harassment. However, hotel employers have not adequately addressed the safety concerns of hotel employees.”
Loretta Weinberg is sponsoring the Senate bill.