In the wake of the #MeToo movement, plenty of industries revealed how much sexual harassment was a problem at the workplace. While there were plenty of big stories from big name tech giants and restaurants, few could compare to the number of incidents reported by former hotel workers.
The dangers these employees face often come in the form of their coworkers or a guest that continuously harass or attempt to assault them during their shifts. Unfortunately, the working conditions of several major hotels makes this repulsive behavior easier to get away with. It is important to understand how so many instances are more likely to happen at these establishments over several other prominent industries.
Many hotels and resorts take up a large chunk of land in their respective areas. On the ground level alone, some establishments grant guests access to restaurants, swimming pools, spas and customer services just to name a few. The buildings themselves are often tall and have dozens of rooms customers can stay in that housekeepers have to take care of every day.
Though hotels often have a decent amount of staff members, they can’t be everywhere at once. Many housekeepers are often by themselves when cleaning the rooms, where they are arguably at their most vulnerable. A former California housekeeper mentioned how they were rushed by their employers to clean these rooms and lift hundred-pound mattresses as quickly as possible on a daily basis. These workers may not be able to fend for themselves or escape from a dangerous individual if their employers push them too hard.
Housekeepers don’t know where the guests are or what they are up to when they come to clean their rooms. Customers could be changing clothes or in the shower when they hear someone knocking on their door. Unfortunately, rather than quickly put on a pair of pants, many guests have responded inappropriately and displayed inappropriate acts of sexual aggression in front of these workers.
Housekeepers aren’t the only hotel employees that have to put up with this nonsense. Over half of the massage therapists that work at the resort’s spa have experienced unwanted sexual advances from their clients. Since guests are more likely to have less or no clothing at all for their reservations, massage therapists have a high probability of running into some rude individuals that will make them feel uncomfortable.
Thankfully, more resorts have become aware of these issues in recent years. Several cities in California such as Sacramento have been debating over whether hotels should be required to give their employees panic buttons. Whether or not these laws will come to pass in the future, hotel workers should be aware of their legal options if they face sexual harassment at their jobs.