Quirk co-authors bill requiring 'panic buttons' for hotel maids in danger of sexual harassment

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Maids and other hotel employees who find themselves alone in rooms with guests in a daily basis often face high incidents of sexual harassment, surveys have found.

And with the issue of sexual harassment casting a large shadow over the state Legislature this year, a bill co-authored by Hayward Assemblymember Bill Quirk would require hotels to provide workers with panic buttons in the event their safety is at risk.

The bill, co-authored by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), was introduced Wednesday during the Legislature's first session of the new year.

In addition to mandating the use of panic buttons, typically easily concealed, hand-held communication devices, the bill requires hotels to maintain a list of guests banned due their indiscretions, provided the allegation includes a statement made under penalty of perjury, according to the Sacramento Bee.

A perpetrator's name could be on the hotel's ban list for at least three years, under the bill.

Labor unions have pushed in the past for greater protections of hotel workers, many of which are immigrants. California would be the first state to require panic buttons for hotel employees, if ultimately signed into law. Several cities around the county have approved similar local ordinances.