Recently, Governor Phil Murphy signed a unique bill to provide panic buttons for employees to protect them against unforeseen dangers of being alone in a hotel room with guests present. This law will go into effect in January 2020 and be implemented in all hotels with more than 25 guest rooms.

Housekeeping and room service employees tend to be alone in hotel rooms. This puts individuals in a vulnerable position and gives them few ways to report danger. Administering a panic button to hotel employees solves this problem. It gives individuals, particularly housekeeping and room service employees, an opportunity to request help in a quick and effective manner.

If the panic button is activated, superiors are required to immediately locate the hotel employee. After an incident occurs, hotel employees can stop working and wait for authorities. Protocol outlined in the bill requires employers to take immediate action against the guest. It also works to prevent future incidents from occurring.

Employer Protocol

To promote employee safety, employers are required to follow certain protocol. If the panic button is activated, employers must report any crimes to law enforcement. Crimes may include sexual harassment, violence, or other threatening behavior. Once the crimes are reported, an in-depth internal investigation should be performed to find evidence that confirms the employee’s accounts. If evidence is found, then the employer must refuse to serve the guest for a minimum of three years. Employers are also responsible for creating and maintaining a list of accused guests for five years after the initial incident.

If a guest is accused of threatening behavior, hotel employees must be informed of their presence and location. When a hotel employee is assigned to a room where an incident occurred, employers are required to notify them prior to their service. Employees also have an opportunity to reject servicing a guest who was accused of threatening behavior. Similarly, the hotel employee who activated the panic button must be reassigned to a different area in the hotel.

Consequences of Non-Compliance

When hotel employers refuse to follow protocol, they may face monetary consequences. Following the first violation, employers will receive a civil penalty of up to $5,000. However, if a hotel repeatedly violates protocol, employers may receive a penalty of up to $10,000.

South Jersey Employment Lawyers Advocate for Employee Safety

If you experienced sexual harassment or discrimination at work, please consider contacting a South Jersey employment lawyer. No one deserves to be harassed or discriminated against in their place of employment. Our lawyers work with clients and guide them on the best possible legal route. Contact us online or call us a for a free consultation. Located in Marlton and Somers Point, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, and Atlantic County.