NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — In the wake of the case against ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is accused of attacking a hotel maid, a Queens lawmaker is introducing new legislation to help protect hotel workers.
Queens assemblyman Rory Lancman wants hotels to provide staff with electronic panic alert devices. They’d be used by workers when they enter hotel rooms and would alert security to emergencies.
“Hotel workers are as entitled to a safe workplace as construction workers or mine workers,” said Lancman.
1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports: Strauss-Kahn Case Prompts New Legislation
This week, the former head of the powerful International Monetary Fund, Strauss-Kahn, was charged with chasing a housekeeper around his $3,000 a night penthouse suite and forcing her to perform oral sex on him at the Sofitel New York Hotel.
In recent years, there have been new reports of at least 10 housekeepers being attacked throughout the US, but labor unions say in reality, that number is much higher.
“Ten should be ringing alarm bells at government agencies, with policy makers and the hotel industry across the country,” said Lancman. “If you’re one of those ten workers who is getting sexually assaulted on the job, it’s extremely serious.”
Labor groups say many more are hushed up because the victims are illegal immigrants or because hotels are wary of scaring off guests.
“Even one incident of a hotel worker being assaulted justifies the very small expence and trouble it would take to make hotel workers safe,” said Lancman.
Anthony Roman, a consultant based on Long Island who spent 30 years working security for hotels, said he saw dozens of incidents involving female room attendants, from drunken propositions to rape.
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