State Law Mandates Panic Buttons for Hotel Housekeepers

June 13, 2019

This week, New Jersey became the first state to pass a law requiring most hotels to provide their workers, including housekeepers and room service employees, with wearable panic buttons so they can summon help quickly in an emergency, Associated Press reports.

The bill passed unanimously through both the state Senate and Assembly in May. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill into law on Tuesday in Atlantic City, N.J., surrounded by Unite Here Local 54 members from each of the city’s nine casino hotel properties, Press of Atlantic City reports. The union was a driving force behind the legislation.

The law goes into effect January 2020 and applies to hotels with 100 or more employees. Lawmakers were prompted to pass the law after hearing various accounts of hotel workers being sexually harassed and assaulted at work, including a 51-year-old room cleaner at Bally’s casino who was pushed into a room and sexually assaulted by a guest last year.

A similar law is under consideration in Illinois, Florida, and Washington. Several hotel chains, such as Marriot and Hilton, plan to provide panic buttons to their workers even in states and cities where the devices are not required by law.

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