The Rising Trend of Hotel Panic Buttons in California
by Jiun Wang, on Apr 3, 2023 9:30:00 AM
Across the State of California, hotel workers' voices are being heard about wanting better safety measures as the hospitality industry has one of the highest rates of sexual assault or harassment in the workplace. One of the common safety improvements for hotels was providing a panic button device to employees who often find themselves working alone.
In California, several cities have approved a form of a 'hotel worker protection ordinance' that provides a hotel panic button to employees. Those cities with effective ordinances are:
- Long Beach
- Los Angeles
- Santa Monica
- West Hollywood
If you work in a hotel, not in one of the above-listed cities, then it may be time to be proactive and start discussing the implementation of a hotel panic button platform.
Why Does My Hotel Need a Hotel Panic Button
Even though the hotel may not have received a report about sexual harassment from their employees, incidents may be happening without a supervisor's knowledge. In a 2016 Puget Sound survey, it was stated that 51% of housekeepers that experience sexual harassment rarely or never tell their supervisors about the incident. Some types of guest behaviors, such as stalking, can also make an employee uncomfortable and fearful. One example is a hotel employee from a Long Beach hotel who recalls an incident that started as stalking and then became harassment and found it very disturbing. The employee was uncomfortable and also feared for her co-workers' safety if the same guest came after them too.
The Damages and Legal Filings
In the unfortunate event where a hotel employee is sexually assaulted, the Dordulian Law Group states that the employee may file a civil claim for various damages that may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Counseling or therapy expenses
- Hospital or medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Diminished quality of life
- Emotional or psychological trauma
- Punitive damages (not capped in California)
More California Cities are Proposing Legislation for Better Hotel Worker Safety
More cities have recognized the need to improve the safety of hotel workers after seeing the largest city in California pass its 'Hotel Worker Protection Ordinance' in 2022. Neighboring cities in Southern California, such as Laguna Beach, had an amendment for 'Workplace Standards and Protections for Hotel Employees' to vote for on the recent November 8, 2022, election. The City of Irvine had a similar workers' protection ordinance narrowly passed in the city council's first vote on October 25, 2022. After the final vote on November 22, 2022, it officially became the first city in Orange County to enact such protections.
There are also proposals of similar ordinances being sent to the City of Anaheim for their council to review. Since Anaheim's location is close to Los Angeles and Long Beach, which already have an ordinance in effect, it is ideal for a high-volume tourist area to also have an ordinance passed.
The Growing Trend to Adopt a Hotel Panic Button
The employee panic button is becoming an industry standard for California hotels and is also sometimes viewed as an added benefit and competitive advantage. A housekeeper working on the edge of two cities, one with a worker safety ordinance and one without, may take the job at the property with better safety policies and similar compensation.
Are you ready to improve the safety of your employees in the workplace? Schedule a free demo to learn how hotel panic buttons work, the benefits of the technology, and available cost-saving integrations.