Appeals Court Strikes Down Hotel Worker Protection Law

Voters approved the rule in 2016 to provide harassment, pay, and hiring protections to hotel workers

January 9, 2019

The Washington State Court of Appeals struck down a law that provided protection against sexual harassment and assault to Seattle, WA, hotel workers, Hotel Management reports.

More than 75 percent of voters approved the Hotel Employees Health and Safety Initiative in November 2016. The initiative required hotels to provide panic buttons to housekeepers and other hotel workers. It also mandated that hotels maintain a list of guests who have been accused of sexually assaulting or harassing hotel workers.

In addition, the initiative required hotels to pay housekeepers time-and-a-half if they clean more than 5,000 square feet in an eight-hour shift, retain previous workers under management changes, and provide workers with a health care subsidy.

The American Hotel and Lodging Association, the Seattle Hotel Association, and the Washington Hospitality Association filed a lawsuit against the law, claiming that its numerous requirements should not be in one initiative. The Court of Appeals ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor, determining the initiative violated Seattle’s single subject requirement, which restricts the passage of multiple rules in one law.

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