The subject of sexual harassment is really getting renewed attention these days, between #MeToo encouraging victims to step forward with their stories and what seems like daily media reports of the downfall of another corporate executive resulting from harassment complaints. Earlier this month, the City of Chicago addressed the problem for hotel workers.
On October 11th, the City approved the Hands Off Pants On ordinance which requires hotels and motels in the City to provide panic buttons, like medic alert devices, to hotel workers who work alone, such as housekeeping and maintenance workers which will summon security. Under the ordinance, hotels must also implement sexual harassment policies which address employee harassment by guests to be published in several languages.
The initiative was led by Unite Here Local 1, the labor union that represents most hotel workers in the City. According to that union, their survey revealed that 58% of workers who work alone have been victims of harassment, with a whopping 49% of those surveyed claiming that guests have flashed or exposed themselves to the worker, including answering their door naked.
The ordinance has an effective date of January 1, 2018 for policy implementation and a deadline of July 1, 2018 to provide the panic buttons.
No matter the industry, now is a perfect time to re-open the issue of workplace sexual harassment with employees, from top to bottom.