Hospitality leaders and local officials have recognized the urgent need to improve safety for hotel housekeepers. Far too many housekeepers experience disturbing incidents and harassment while trying to do their jobs. These alarming events range from guests indecently exposing themselves to inappropriately touching housekeepers without consent.
In 2018, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) initiated the 5-Star Promise program to strengthen security and safety for hotel staff. That same year, the City of Miami Beach proactively passed a local ordinance to enhance protections for hotel employees.
This article will explain the panic button compliance requirements for hotels in Miami Beach. For detailed compliance information on other cities and states, check out our comprehensive Panic Button Legislation Guide for Hoteliers here.
Let’s explore what steps hotels in Miami Beach are taking to safeguard their housekeepers.
What Does the Miami Beach Ordinance Require for Panic Buttons?
The City of Miami Beach passed and adopted Ordinance No. 2018-4207 on July 28, 2018, which became effective on August 1, 2019. This ordinance amended Chapter 62 of the Miami Beach City Code by creating Article VI, titled “Protection of Hotel Employees from Assault and Sexual Harassment.”
As the ordinance documentation explains, the goal is to safeguard hotel staff from sexual assault and harassment that could occur when working alone. One key requirement is providing a safety button (also known as a panic button, notification button, or safety duress button) to hotel employees in roles like room attendant, housekeeper, minibar attendant, or room service server.
Let’s take a closer look at what Miami Beach hotels must do to comply with the panic button ordinance.
What are the Main Requirements for Miami Beach Hotels?
The City of Miami Beach’s ordinance for Protection of Hotel Employees from Assault and Sexual Harassment applies to all hotels and hostels in the city.
The primary responsibilities for hotel employers include:
Providing a panic button device at no cost to each hotel or hostel employee working as a room attendant, housekeeper, minibar attendant, or room service server.
Submitting an affidavit to the city annually with their business tax receipt renewal declaring compliance with Sections 62-206(a) and 62-207.
Complying fully with subsections 62-206(a) and (b) by the deadline of August 1, 2019.
What Capabilities are Required for Miami Beach Hotel Panic Buttons?
Section 62-206 of the ordinance mandates that certain employees be provided with a panic button device. This device must be portable, allowing staff to easily carry it on their person while working. It also must enable swift activation to summon help directly to the employee’s location.
In summary, Miami Beach hotel panic buttons must have these key capabilities:
Portable – The device should be easily carried by the employee while performing duties.
Quick Activation – Employees need to be able to trigger the panic button rapidly in an emergency.
Pinpointed Location – When activated, the device must summon assistance specifically to the employee’s exact location, not just raise a general alarm. This allows security or other staff to respond directly to the emergency scene.
What Penalties Exist for Miami Beach Hotels That Don’t Comply?
If a Miami Beach hotel or hostel fails to fulfill the ordinance’s requirements for employers, civil fines will be imposed for the violation as follows:
First Offense: The person responsible will receive a written warning.
Second Offense: If within 6 months of the first violation, the responsible person will be fined $500.
Third Offense: If within 6 months of the previous violation, the fine increases to $1,000.
Fourth Offense: If within 6 months of the last violation, the fine rises to $2,000.
The penalties clearly escalate for repeated noncompliance within a 6 month period. The city wanted to allow one initial warning to encourage quick action. But hotels that continue to violate the ordinance will face rapidly increasing fines of up to $2,000 to compel compliance.
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