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Armato & Mazzeo Introduce Bill to Protect Hotel Employees from Unsafe Working Conditions

Assemblyman John Armato and Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo introduced legislation recently requiring hotels to provide panic buttons to hotel employees for protection against unsafe working conditions while performing housekeeping duties.

More specifically, the bill (A-4439) states these panic buttons are intended to protect employees from inappropriate conduct by guests when employees are servicing guests’ rooms by themselves. The panic button requirement will apply to hotels with at least 25 guest rooms.

“In our district, our hotel staff are a significant part of our community,” said Armato (D-Atlantic). “Their safety is our priority. When they are working at all hours of the night, it is simply unacceptable for them to feel unsafe at any moment. These panic buttons will give hotel employees an extra layer of protection while they work.”

“Working alone in a hotel room vastly increases the risk of our employees encountering a dangerous or harmful situation,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “It is necessary that we ensure hotel employees are never subject to these situations. Requiring them to have panic buttons on their person will help to make our employees feel less alone and, most importantly; less afraid to work on their own; especially if the room they are servicing is occupied.”

The panic button will be a portable emergency contact device which will allow an employee to quickly and easily access on-scene assistance from a security office, manager, supervisor, or another appropriate hotel staff member.

“Protection for Housekeeper staff is long overdue. The Hospitality industry has played an important economic role in the state of New Jersey for well over a decade,” said Bob McDevitt, President of Local 54. “The time is now to fix this problem of staff personal security.”

This bill also would require hotels to investigate these incidents and report any criminal conduct to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

“As a housekeeper I work to make guest feel safe and relaxed in their rooms, we’re expected by management to have a ‘the guest is always right’ mentality,” said Nolan Aquin, a Borgata housekeeper. “Too often this comes at the cost of my own comfort and safety. I have had to feel unsafe while performing basic duties of my job knowing that there were no other workers around me. If these companies demand us to promote a high level of security to guests, why are you not promoting it for the workers?”