service,” Grossman said.
Elena Dineen, staff attorney at the Futures
Without Violence advocacy group, said,
“Coming forward to report sexual harassment is an incredibly difficult and traumatic
experience. Victims of sexual harassment
and assault have historically faced myriad
barriers to being believed and heard. If an
employee comes forward and informs an
employer of a known danger, it’s incumbent
upon the employer to take reasonable steps
Brady Hirsch, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, said last week that the group had not
taken a position on the bill and declined to
California Hotels & Lodging Association
CEO Lynn Mohrfield said his trade group had
Calif. bill would require panic buttons for hotel housekeepers
The Chicago Federation of Labor and the
local Unite Here chapter, which both helped
craft Chicago’s bill, cited an October 2016
survey showing that 58% of hotel workers
said they were sexually harassed by a guest.
Despite the statistics, however, the California bill has raised questions about due
process, since offending guests would be
blacklisted without being formally charged
with any wrongdoing.
Additionally, while the proposed bill defines terms such as “employee,” “hotel employer” and “panic button,” there is no definition of sexual assault or sexual harassment.
Jennifer Myers, a spokeswoman with the
American Hotel & Lodging Association
(AHLA), said last week that the trade group
was still evaluating the California proposal.
The group took issue with the Seattle bill
and was among the entities that filed suit
against the initiative, asserting that its man-
date that guests alleged to have harassed
or assaulted employers be barred from the
hotels for at least three years “stripped our
The group is more amenable to the Chi-
cago bill, saying that it worked with city of-
ficials in crafting the bill, which Myers said
“would actually advance worker safety and
security without creating burdensome regu-
lations that ultimately hurt workers.”
As for the AHLA’s concern about due
process, Joanna Grossman, endowed chair-
woman at Southern Methodist University’s
Dedman School of Law, said the concept
doesn’t apply because, aside from very few
cases such as race discrimination, hotels have
the legal right to refuse service to anyone.
“There’s certainly no law that protects accused sexual harassers from being refused
By Danny King
Two California lawmakers want to require
hotels to provide housekeepers with panic
buttons to help prevent sexual harassment
or assault by guests. The move follows
similar efforts in Seattle and Chicago, but it
could draw opposition from the country’s
largest hotel trade group.
California Assembly members Al Muratsuchi, D-Torrance, and Bill Quirk, D-Hay-ward, co-authored the bill.
If it becomes law, the legislation would
mandate that hotels ban alleged offenders
from their properties for three years and
keep the information on file for five years.
Aggrieved employees would be required
to make their allegations under oath.
“We have heard much about the danger
for hotel maids, who often work in situa-
tions that put them at risk of sexual assault
or harassment,” Muratsuchi said in a state-
ment. “This would be an important step in
keeping those employees safe from harm.”
The California bill, the first of its kind
to be proposed on a statewide basis, echoes
similar laws passed in Seattle and Chicago.
Seattle voters in November 2016 voted in
favor of a similar bill, Initiative 124, which
was backed by the local chapter of Unite
Here, the hotel workers’ union.
Meanwhile, a similar ordinance, called
“Hands off, pants on,” was passed by the
Chicago City Council last October.
Such bills highlight what labor unions
and advocates say is a growing problem
faced by hotel housekeepers. Seattle’s Unite
Here local chapter estimated that 53% of
Seattle hotel housekeepers report experi-
encing sexual harassment or assault at work.
scheduled meetings with the bill’s authors to
discuss its implications and implementation.
“It is our hope that the state legislature
will give this matter serious thought and
work together with our industry to ensure
commonsense policies that empower em-
ployees, maintain the proper role of law
enforcement and provide a safe working
environment,” Mohrfield said.
Kerry Jacob, a spokeswoman for Mu-
ratsuchi, said the assemblyman’s office has
had discussions with the hotel industry
and added that the bill will be heard by
this spring. Jacob declined to estimate how
much panic buttons would cost hotels.
“We’re early in the process, and we’ll be
working with all interested parties to address these and other questions about the
bill,” Jacob added.
Contiki offers to pay
guests’ passport fees
Youth tour specialist Contiki is enticing travelers to get their first passport, picking up
the passport cost for the first 100 Americans who book a tour of seven days or longer. Contiki said 50% of its demographic,
travelers ages 18 to 35, have never owned a
passport. A passport costs $135 ($110 application fee and $25 processing fee).
to China over survey
Marriott International apologized to China’s
government for referring to Tibet and self-ruled Taiwan as countries in a customer
survey. “We don’t support anyone who subverts the sovereignty and territorial integrity
of China, and we do not intend in any way
to encourage or incite any such people or
groups,” Marriott wrote on its website. The
survey asked customers in which country
they lived and gave options including Tibet,
Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Ski group gets a name:
Alterra Mountain Co.
The KSL Capital Partners-led group that
acquired Mammoth Resorts and Intrawest
last year has named itself Alterra Mountain Co. The company oversees 12 North
American ski resorts, including Colorado’s
Steamboat and Winter Park; California’s
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows and Mammoth Mountain; and Utah’s Deer Valley as
well as British Columbia’s CMH Heli-Skiing
& Summer Adventures.
Kenya Air launching
nonstop to New York
Kenya Airways will launch nonstop, daily
service between Nairobi and New York JFK
on Oct. 28, its first nonstop to the U.S.
Flights aboard a 234-passenger Boeing 787
Dreamliner will depart Nairobi at 11: 25 p.m.
and arrive the next day in New York at 6: 25
a.m. The return flight will leave New York at
12: 25 p.m. and arrive in Nairobi the next day
at 10:55 a.m.
Hilton raises bonuses
in its loyalty program
Hilton is increasing elite-tier perks for its
loyalty program but taking away the ability
to earn airline miles on hotel stays. Starting April 1, the elite-tier bonus will increase
to 20% for Silver, 80% for Gold and 100%
for Diamond members. With those bonus
increases comes the elimination of other
bonus programs, including Points & Miles,
which goes away April 1.
Int’l visitor spending
down 3% through Nov.
International travelers in the U.S. spent
3.3% less from January through November
2017 than the year before, the U.S. Travel
Association said. The numbers reverse
what had been a spending increase on the
part of international travelers, as spending had been up by 3% through June. The
drop translates to a loss of $4.6 billion and
40,000 jobs, according to the Commerce
Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Kenya Airways 787s will begin nonstop flights to New
York JFK in October.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is one of 12 North American
ski resorts overseen by Alterra Mountain Co.
Carnival drafts Shaq as Chief Fun Officer
Former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal will become Carnival Cruise Line’s Chief Fun Officer and will appear as a spokesman for the line in advertising and marketing campaigns. The first ad is slated to be a 30-second tour of the
Carnival Vista, with O’Neal appearing at the SkyRide, Havana Pool, Guy Fieri’s Burger Joint and the basketball court.