New York Hotel Panic Buttons Union Initiative
In early 2012, The New York Hotel and Motel Trades Council, AFL-CIO, (Hotel Trades Council, abbreviated) for New York City fought in contract negotiations to have hotel workers who work in guest rooms, to be equipped with panic buttons. The Hotel Association of New York approved the panic button devices in February of 2012.
This came about after two incidents in which housekeepers were assaulted by prominent guests in NYC. In the Sofitel Hotel, a housekeeper reported that she was assaulted by former IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Two weeks after at the Pierre Hotel, an Egyptian businessman sexually abused a hotel employee.
After meeting with union officials at both hotels, hotel management agreed to provide housekeepers with panic buttons to ensure a safer work environment.
State Assemblyman Rory Lancman introduced a bill in the New York State Legislature in 2011 that called for panic buttons to be provided for hotel employees, this bill was not passed. However, Lancman was satisfied with the inclusion of panic buttons in the new hotel contracts, “It’s an important but simple step to protect housekeepers from assault,” said Lancman.
Date of Compliance
Providing emergency devices for unionized hospitality workers, in particular housekeepers, has been the law in New York City since 2013.
Panic Buttons – What to look for:
Marriott International Hotels
Marriott International, plans to provide employees in the U.S. and Canada with safety devices/panic buttons, with the goal to fully install and integrate by 2020.
Hilton has already implemented employee safety devices at numerous hotel locations and plan to deploy devices for all employees working in guestrooms at Hilton-managed properties in the U.S. by 2020. In addition, Hilton plans to include anti-harassment and anti-trafficking policies and training at all their properties.
Hyatt became one of the first hotel brands to issue safety devices to employee who work in guestrooms. This is a brand standard for Hyatt-managed full-service hotels in the U.S., and more than half of full-service franchise Hyatt hotels will implement safety devices to staff.
IHG has deployed safety devices to employees at numerous hotel locations within the U.S. and plan to fully implement safety devices at their managed hotels in the U.S. by 2020. As well as mandatory and enhanced workplace training for corporate and hotel employees in the U.S.
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts plan to deploy employee safety devices to all employees in the U.S. who are assigned to work alone in guestrooms. These devices will be provided to the employee at no cost. Wyndham also plans to roll out mandatory, annual anti-sexual harassment, discrimination, and human trafficking training for all employees.
Accor plans to equip employees who enter guestrooms and restrooms unaccompanied with safety devices by 2020. Accor also has a strict policy against sexual harassment and will also provide mandatory trainings to employees.
Best Western Hotels
Best Western branded hotels in the U.S. are required by the end of 2020 to provide employees with safety devices, at no cost to hotel employees who are assigned to work alone in hotel guestrooms or hotel areas. In addition, employees will be provided with training to identify and report sexual harassment.
Radisson Hotel Group
Radisson will deploy employee safety devices for hotel employees who work alone in guestrooms by 2020. Mandatory anti-sexual harassment policies and trainings will be provided to all employees.
Find a device that does not rely solely on hotel staff to support a worker who signals for help. Both silent and noise-producing panic buttons should be monitored by a number of on-site and remote staff AND a professional back office NOC.
When it comes to life safety, text alerts that can be silenced are not sufficient. Choose a vendor partner who provides a variety of media types with dedicated web apps that are always on, a physical computer station and/or an obvious visible/audible alert system.
Don’t settle for a device that stands completely outside the ecosystem of your current hotel operations. Have a back of house management system? Then choose a partner who has those integrations built-in. Want to run it off your hotel’s Wi-Fi? Find one that can work with your brand to provide fewer points of failure (no physical hub needed).