The hospitality industry has been actively working to improve employee safety in the United States. In 2018, the American Hotel & Lodging Association launched the 5-Star Promise initiative to provide hotel employees with panic buttons, better policies, and training to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and assault. This commitment to employee safety is a crucial step towards protecting the people who make the industry thrive.
However, the implementation of these safety measures varies from state to state. In Illinois, hotels and casinos are required to comply with specific panic button regulations. These regulations mandate that all hotel and casino employees who work alone in guest rooms or restrooms must be provided with a portable panic button device. The device must be easily accessible and fully operational, with a response time of 90 seconds or less.
Moreover, hotels and casinos must also have a written anti-sexual harassment policy in place, which includes reporting procedures for employees to follow. The policy must be available in English, Spanish, and any other language commonly spoken by employees.
What is the Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act in Illinois and How Does It Protect Workers?
The Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act is an Illinois state law that was enacted on January 1st, 2020, to protect hotel and casino workers from sexual harassment and assault. The law requires all hotels and casinos to provide their employees who work alone in an area with a panic button, also known as a safety device or notification device. The purpose of the panic button is to enable workers to summon help quickly in case of an emergency, such as a guest threatening or assaulting them.
The panic button must be easily accessible and fully operational, with a response time of 90 seconds or less. The law also requires hotels and casinos to develop, maintain and comply with a written anti-sexual harassment policy to protect employees against sexual assault and harassment by guests.
What are the Employer Responsibilities under the Illinois Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act?
The Illinois Hotel and Casino Employee Safety Act is a legislation that applies to all hotels and casinos in Illinois, regardless of size. The act defines “employee” to include full-time, part-time, and subcontractors who work for a hotel or casino employer. As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that your employees are provided with a safe work environment, free from sexual harassment and assault.
The main employer responsibilities under the act are as follows:
Providing panic button devices to employees who work alone: The act requires all hotels and casinos to provide their employees who work alone with a panic button device at no cost to the employee. The panic button must be portable, easily accessible, and able to transmit a signal to the appropriate personnel or security personnel to respond promptly in case of an emergency.
Developing and maintaining written anti-sexual harassment policies: The act requires hotels and casinos to develop, maintain and comply with a written anti-sexual harassment policy in English, Spanish, and any other language that is spoken by a predominant portion of its employees. The policy must outline the procedures for reporting incidents of sexual harassment and assault and the steps the hotel or casino will take to investigate and address such incidents. The policy shall be provided to all employees with a current copy and posted in conspicuous places in areas of the hotel or casino.
What are Panic Button Devices for Hotels and Casinos, and How Do They Work?
A panic button device is a portable emergency contact device designed to quickly and easily activate an alert for help. The device must be easily accessible and fully operational, with a response time of 90 seconds or less. When activated, the alert should provide location information for prompt assistance by the property’s security or emergency response team.
The purpose of the hotel or casino panic button is to enable employees who work alone to summon help quickly in case of an emergency, such as a guest threatening or assaulting them. The panic button is intended to be used in situations such as ongoing crime, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other emergencies, including medical emergencies, hazards on the property, and other incidents that require immediate assistance.
Providing employees with panic button devices is a crucial step towards ensuring employee safety and preventing incidents of sexual harassment and assault. By giving employees a device to easily and quickly call for help, hotels and casinos can protect their employees from potentially dangerous situations. Moreover, addressing problems faster can also help protect the overall brand reputation of the hotel or casino.
In the event of an emergency, the activated panic button alert should provide location information to the hotel’s security or emergency response team. This information enables the team to respond quickly and effectively to the situation, potentially preventing it from escalating further.
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