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Two New York hotels give housekeepers panic buttons

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2011-06-03

After a new instance of alleged sexual assault on a hotel housekeeper, two New York City hotels have agreed to give their room-cleaning staff panic buttons that they can use if any guests act inappropriately.

Following two alleged instances of sexual assault on New York City hotel housekeepers in recent weeks, one swanky Manhattan hotel has agreed to implement a new safety system.

From now on, the cleaning staff of the Pierre Hotel will be equipped with panic buttons that they can press to set off an alarm should any guests act inappropriately.

The policy was agreed upon after the New York Hotel Workers’ Union, which represents hotel workers in New York City, pushed for greater protections.

In addition to the Pierre, a hotel located on Fifth Avenue in the Upper East Side neighbourhood, the Sofitel New York – where former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn was accused of attempting to rape a room attendant – will also give its personnel the buttons.

The measure comes on the heels of a second accusation of sexual assault – this time at the Pierre.

Police arrested Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar, a top executive from an Egyptian salt-producing company on Monday, after a housekeeper said he locked her in his room at the hotel and forced himself on her.

The two consecutive cases have shed new light on the unwanted sexual advances that hotel housekeepers are said to commonly face from guests.

To combat that, the hotel workers’ union has been drafting legislation that would require all New York hotels to give their workers the panic buttons.

Date created : 2011-06-02