Alert Devices May be Mandatory for Housekeepers

Accommodation providers in New York may have to supply their staff with an alert device in case of an emergency, such as assault.

Under the proposed Hotel Worker Protection Act, every accommodation provider in the state would need to provide their employees who “regularly enter hotel or motel rooms” with panic-alert devices capable of notifying hotel security, either by setting off an alarm or sending a signal to a central system.

Rory Lancman, chairman of the Assembly Subcommittee on Workplace Safety, says that in light of the recent incident involving IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, people are becoming aware that assaults on and inappropriate conduct toward housekeepers are common. We can no longer send housekeepers into hotel rooms, isolated from other workers and hotel security, without giving them a means to immediately access help in the event of an assault.

The devices are small and can be worn around a person’s wrist. Senior citizens or people who may need emergency health care commonly wear such devices and Lancman says people use several of these devices in his own office. The devices range from alerting 911 to sending a signal to a central monitoring station.

The arrest of International Monetary Fund’s Dominique Strauss-Kahn for allegedly trying to rape a housekeeper in a New York City luxury hotel suite is putting the spotlight on accommodation security – especially for housekeepers. Strauss-Kahn, was charged with chasing a housekeeper around his $3000 a night penthouse suite (now infamous room 2806) and forcing her to perform oral sex on him at the Sofitel New York Hotel.

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