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The Complete Hotel Panic Button Compliance and Brand Mandate Guide

by Jiun Wang, on Sep 6, 2022 9:30:00 AM

 

In the past few years, the hospitality industry has focused on initiatives to enhance the cleanliness and safety of its properties. The 5-Star Promise is one of the primary safety initiatives pledged by major hotel brands, which includes providing hotel employees with panic buttons in the United States. In parallel with the industry identification to enhance safety, local cities and states agree on the importance of having hotel panic buttons available. Therefore, many have passed legislation to make panic buttons a safety compliance requirement for hotels.

The blog will cover the latest hotel panic button compliance and brand mandates in the United States. For more information about the specific details of local or state legislations, please refer to the original government document or dedicated compliance legal counsel.

Disclaimer: The content and materials available in this blog are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author.

State and City Level Hotel Panic Button Compliance

State: Georgia

Currently, the Senate Bill 389 is pending, but it requires that every tourist court employer shall provide a panic device to each service employee assigned to work in a guest room without any other employees present, at no cost to the service employee. The bill states that no later than December 15, 2022, the Department of Public Health shall develop and provide, by rules and regulations, a program with a pending approval date on or before January 1, 2023.

Georgia Panic Button Requirements

A two-way radio or other electronic device that permits an individual to communicate with or otherwise effectively summon immediate on-scene assistance from a security officer, manager, supervisor, or other appropriate tourist court staff member.

State: Illinois

Effective as of March 1, 2021, the State of Illinois had passed a Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act where each hotel and casino shall equip an employee who is assigned to work in a guest room, restroom, or casino floor, under circumstances where no other employee is present in the room or area, with a safety device or notification device.

Illinois Panic Button Requirements

A portable emergency contact device, supplied by the hotel employer or casino employer, that utilizes technology that the hotel employer or casino employer deems appropriate for the hotel's or casino's size, physical layout, and technological capabilities and that is designed so that an employee can quickly and easily activate the device to alert a hotel or casino security officer, manager, or other appropriate hotel or casino staff member designated by the hotel or casino and effectively summon to the employee's location prompt assistance by a hotel or casino security officer, manager, or other appropriate hotel or casino staff member designated by the hotel or casino.

State: Massachusetts

The Bill H.1657 Safer Hotels for Workers Act is currently pending with an expected deadline one year after passage for hotels with 25+ rooms. This bill states that in hotels that contains at least 25 rooms, the employer shall provide an employee, who is assigned to work in a guest room or in any enclosed area under circumstances, where no other employee is present in such guest room or area and where guests may be reasonably expected to be present, with a panic button. Also develop and maintain a program, which may include written information, to educate hotel employees regarding the use of panic buttons and their rights in the event the hotel employees activate their panic buttons, and to encourage hotel employees activate panic buttons when appropriate.

Massachusetts Panic Button Requirements

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.

State: New Jersey

The State of New Jersey passed Panic Button Law Bill with a deadline of January 1, 2020, for compliance. Hotels, inns, boarding houses, motels, or other similar establishments with at least 100 guest rooms are to provide panic buttons to each hotel employee who is assigned to work in a guest room without any other employee present, at no cost to the employees. Under the new legislation, covered hotel employees who reasonably believe they are in the presence of an ongoing crime, emergency or immediate threat of assault or harassment may stop working, leave the immediate area and wait for help to arrive. The hotel may not take any adverse action against an employee who exercises his or her right to use the panic button.

New Jersey Panic Button Requirements

A two-way radio or other electronic device which is kept on an employee’s person when the employee is in a guest room, and that permits an employee to communicate with or otherwise effectively summon immediate on-scene assistance from a security officer, manager or supervisor, or other appropriate hotel staff member.

State: Pennsylvania

The House Bill No. 1944, Protection of Hotel Employees, is pending with the act to take into effect in 60 days after passing for hotels with at least 100 guest rooms. A hotel employer shall provide an employee safety device to each hotel employee assigned to work in a guest room without any other hotel employees present. A hotel employer may provide an employee safety device to other employees at its discretion. The employee safety device shall be provided at no cost to the hotel employee.

Pennsylvania Panic Button Requirements

A two-way radio or other electric device that is kept on a hotel employee's person when the hotel employee is on duty in a guest room and that permits a hotel employee to communicate with or otherwise effectively summon immediate on-scene assistance from a security officer, manager or supervisor or other appropriate hotel staff member.

State: Washington

The Senate Bill 5258 was passed and hotel and motels with 60 or more rooms must meet the requirements by January 1, 2020. All other businesses subject to the law must meet the requirements by January 1, 2021. Every hotel, motel, retail, or property services contractor, who employs an employee, must provide a panic button to each employee. In addition, adopt a sexual harassment policy and provide mandatory training to the employer's managers,

supervisors, and employees, provide a list of resources for the employer's employees to utilize. At a minimum, the resources must include contact information of the equal employment opportunity commission, the Washington state human rights commission, and local advocacy groups focused on preventing sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Washington Panic Button Requirements

The following effectiveness criteria can help you select an acceptable panic button device (and system) for your workplace:

  • The panic button is designed to be carried by the user (e.g., lanyards, clip-ons, etc.).
  • The device should be simple to activate (e.g., a single action like a push, pull, or tap provides a sustained signal) without delays caused by entering passwords or waiting for the system to turn on.
  • When activated, the signal is effective for the circumstances (e.g., designated personnel will be able to detect it regardless of their location and distinguish it from other audible or visual alarms and noise from vacuum cleaners and other sources.).
  • The device is designed to summon immediate assistance and allows responders to accurately identify the user’s location.
  • The device reliably works in all locations on all shifts and the activation of one device won’t obscure the activation of others.
  • The device should minimize inadvertent activation and resist possible disabling by attackers.

Download the Legislative Guide with more details about hotel panic button requirements.

City: Glendale CA

The City of Glendale passed new measures to amend the “Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance,” which one of the key provisions was to protect hotel workers from violent or threatening conduct. Hotel employers are required to protect workers from violent or threatening conduct by providing them with a personal security device at no cost and training them on how to use it. Workers must also be allowed to take paid time off to report a serious incident or to seek counseling.

Glendale Panic Button Requirements

A portable emergency contact device, including but not limited to a panic button that is designed so that a hotel worker can quickly and easily activate such device to directly contact a hotel security officer, manager, or supervisory hotel staff member designated by a hotel employer to respond to violent or threatening conduct and promptly summon them to the hotel worker’s location.

City: Long Beach, CA

A passed ordinance, the City of Long Beach requires any hotel containing fifty (50) or more guest rooms not later than six (6) months following the effective date of November 31, 2018, to comply. All other hotels containing less than fifty (50) guest rooms shall be brought into full compliance no later than twelve (12) months following the effective date of November 31, 2018.

The ordinance also requires all hotels in the City of Long Beach to protect their safety by requiring that hotel employers provide workers who clean guest rooms with panic buttons which they may use to report threatening conduct by a hotel guest and other emergencies. Each hotel employer shall place a sign on the back of each guest room door to be in compliance.

Long Beach Panic Button Requirements

An emergency electronic contact device is carried by a hotel employee by which the hotel employee may summon immediate on-scene assistance from a security guard or other person employed by the hotel.

City: Los Angeles, CA

The Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance was passed with an estimated effective date of August 12, 2022. A hotel employer shall provide a personal security device to each hotel worker assigned to work in a guest room or restroom facility where other hotel workers are not assigned to be present. The personal security device shall be provided at no cost to the hotel worker and shall be maintained in good working order by the hotel employer.

A hotel worker may activate a personal security device whenever a hotel worker reasonably believes that violent or threatening conduct or an emergency is occurring in the hotel worker’s presence. Immediately prior to or upon activating the device, the hotel worker may cease work and leave the immediate area of danger to await assistance. No hotel worker shall be subject to an adverse employment action for activating a personal security device or for ceasing work to await assistance absent clear and convincing evidence that the hotel worker knowingly and intentionally made a false claim of emergency.

A hotel employer shall at all times have a designated and assigned security guard who can receive alerts from personal security devices and can provide immediate on-scene assistance in the event that a personal security device is activated. Hotels with fewer than 60 guest rooms may utilize a hotel supervisor or manager to fulfill the requirement of this subsection.

Los Angeles Panic Button Requirements

A portable electronic emergency contact device, including but not limited to a panic button that signals the hotel worker’s location and that provides direct contact between a hotel worker and a hotel security guard or responsible manager or, a supervisor designated by a hotel employer to respond to violent or threatening conduct. A personal security device does not include a whistle, noisemaker, alarm bell, or similar device that does not provide direct contact between the hotel worker and the designated security officer.

City: Oakland, CA

The Measure Z, Hotel Minimum Wage and Working Conditions ordinance was passed with an effective date of July 1, 2022. Hotel Employers within the city with 50 or more guest rooms must provide a “Panic Button” to all Hotel Employees assigned to work in a guest room or bathroom without other employees present. Hotel Employers are prohibited from disciplining an employee for using a panic button, except where the employer has “clear and convincing” evidence that the employee knowingly and intentionally made a false report of an emergency. Each hotel shall place a sign on the back of each guest-room door about their provision of panic buttons.

Oakland Panic Button Requirements

An emergency contact device carried by the hotel employee which allows him or her in the event of an ongoing crime, threat, or other emergency to alert another employee or security guard responsible for providing immediate on-scene assistance.

City: Sacramento, CA

The Hotel Workers Protection Act of 2018 was passed, and the ordinance will be effective on March 29, 2018. The ordinance requires hotels with 25 or more guest rooms located in the unincorporated area of Sacramento County to adopt a series of policies designed to protect hotel workers from sexual assault and harassment. Hotels and motel operators to provide employees with a panic button or notification device which can be used to call for help if the employee reasonably believes that there is sexual harassment activity occurring in the employee’s presence.

Sacramento Panic Button Requirements

A portable emergency contact device that is designed so that an employee can quickly or easily activate such a button or device to summon to the employee’s location prompt assistance by hotel staff that is able to provide immediate aid and assistance such as a hotel security officer or manager.

City: Santa Monica, CA

The Chapter 4.67 Hotel Worker Protection ordinance was passed and effective on January 1, 2020, with the exception of Section 4.67.050, which shall become effective immediately. All hotels must provide a personal security device to each hotel worker assigned to work in a guest room or restroom facility where other hotel employees are not present in the guest room or restroom facility. The personal security device shall be provided at no cost to the hotel worker and have the ability to report criminal and threatening behavior without fear of retaliation.

The City will select and certify a Public Housekeeping Training Organization, which hotels will be required to use to provide regular training for their workers.

Santa Monica Panic Button Requirements

A portable emergency contact device, including, but not limited to, a panic button, that is designed so that a hotel worker can quickly and easily activate such a device to summon to the hotel worker’s location prompt assistance by a hotel security officer, manager or supervisory hotel staff member designated by a hotel employer.

City: West Hollywood, CA

The Chapter 5.128 Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance was passed to protect hotel workers from violent or threatening conduct that shall be operative on January 1, 2022. A hotel employer shall provide a personal security device to each hotel worker assigned to work in a guest room or restroom facility where other hotel workers are not present in the guest room or restroom facility. The personal security device shall be provided at no cost to the hotel worker.

A hotel worker may activate a personal security device whenever a hotel worker reasonably believes that violent or threatening conduct or an emergency is occurring in the hotel worker’s presence. Immediately prior to or upon activating the device, the hotel worker may cease work and leave the immediate area of danger to await assistance. No hotel worker shall be subject to

an adverse employment action for activating a personal security device or for ceasing work to await assistance absent clear and convincing evidence that the hotel worker knowingly and intentionally made a false claim of emergency.

A hotel employer shall assign a security guard, manager, or supervisory hotel staff member to provide immediate on-scene assistance in the event that a personal security device is activated.

West Hollywood Panic Button Requirements

A portable emergency contact device, including but not limited to a panic button that is designed so that a hotel worker can quickly and easily activate such device to summon to the hotel worker’s location prompt assistance by a hotel security officer, manager, or supervisory hotel staff member designated by a hotel employer.

City: Miami Beach, FL

The Ordinance No.2018-4207, Protection of Hotel and Hostel Employees from Assault and Sexual Harassment was passed and effective on August 1, 2019. Requires hotel and hostel employers to: a) provide a safety button or notification device to certain hotel or hostel employees; b) place a sign on the inside of each guest room door notifying guests that a safety button /notification device has been provided to such employees; and c) submit an affidavit with their annual BTR renewal stating that they are in compliance with the above

requirements.

Miami Beach Panic Button Requirements

A portable emergency contact device that is designed so that an employee can quickly and easily activate such button or device to effectively summon prompt assistance to the employee's location by a hotel or hostel security officer, manager or other appropriate hotel or hostel staff member designated by the hotel or hostel employer.

City: Chicago, IL

The Chicago Municipal Code4-6-180(e) Hotel Workers Sexual Harassment Ordinance passed and to take full force and effect on July 1, 2018. The ordinance requires all hotels in Chicago to equip employees who are assigned to clean or to inventory, inspect or restock supplies in a guest room or restroom, under circumstances where no other employee is present in such room, with a panic button or notification device. The measure is designed to provide protection to the more than 15,000 hospitality workers, most of them female and many of whom are minority, who clean and restock the city's hotel rooms.

Chicago Panic Button Requirements

In order for a panic button to pass muster under the Ordinance, the device must have the following attributes or capabilities:

  • The panic button must be portable, and easily carried and activated by the employee;
  • The panic button must summon prompt assistance from appropriate persons designated by the hotel employer when activated;
  • The panic button must not require continued activation by the employee to sustain the alert (e.g. simple whistles, walkie-talkies, mugger buttons or other non-GPS supported notification devices are not panic buttons within the meaning of Chicago’s Ordinance);
  • The panic button must have GPS capabilities and be able to identify the exact location of the employee in real time.

City: Seattle, WA

The Ordinance SMC 14.26, The Hotel Employees Safety Ordinance, passed and effective on July 1, 2022. The ordinance requires employers of a Seattle hotel or motel of 60 or more rooms or an ancillary hotel business of any size to take measures to prevent, address, and respond to guest conduct that is "violent or harassing," which is defined as assault, harassment, non-consensual sexual contact, and indecent exposure. One of the measures includes providing panic buttons to employees who is assigned to work in a guest's room or to make deliveries to a guest's room.

Seattle Panic Button Requirements

The panic button must be designed to be carried by the user and simple to activate without delays caused by entering passwords, waiting for the system to turn on, or requiring a user to hold down a button to sustain a signal. When activated, the signal must be effective for the circumstances. The signal needs to operate and be detectable regardless of where the employee is located and should not be obstructed by noise from other sources or other visual alarms. A single action like a push, pull, or tap should provide a sustained signal. The panic button must allow the responder to accurately identify the user’s specific location and should minimize inadvertent activation and resist possible disabling by attackers.

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Upcoming Hotel Brand Mandates for Panic Buttons

Marriott

The Marriott brand committed to the 5-Star Promise on September 6th, 2018, and it was acknowledged by Sr. Director of Guest Technology that the panic buttons “have now been mandated throughout the company’s 30 brands in all of its North American hotels by the end of 2023.”

The Importance of Hotel Panic Buttons

More than ever, hoteliers have a better understanding of how technology can enhance the safety of their employees while at work, especially if they are working alone. A hotel panic button allows employees to quickly call for help in a threatening or emergency situation. The major benefit of workplace panic button solutions is that they offer real-time location information so on-site security personnel can arrive at the exact place to provide immediate help. Location information improves response time, especially for a hotel with dozens of floors, stairwells, and public restroom areas.

With a hotel running 24/7, it’s a given that all employees should have an easy way to call for help while working alone or being placed in situations with a risk of danger. Don’t let your employees be in a situation without the means to receive help; schedule a demo with React Mobile to learn more and maintain safety compliance.

Topics:Panic ButtonsHotel Employeespanic button

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