New Ordinance Could Protect Hotel Workers From Sexual Harassment, Assault

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago City Council Committee on Workforce Development has given preliminary approval to a measure aimed at protecting hotel workers from sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Alderman Michelle Harris spearheaded the measure that arose from hotel worker complaints about guests who flashed them or worse.

“Two great things that this ordinance will do which will require hotels to create a sexual harassment policy and post it in public places, and the biggest part of the ordinance is to create the panic button,” Harris said.

That wireless device could summon help.

Karen Kent, president of UNITE HERE Local 1, said they surveyed their hotel worker union members.

“Forty-eight percent of hotel workers have experiences of sexual harassment, including sexual assault,” Kent said.

Alderman Edward Burke, among several sponsors, said many acts even sexual assaults go unreported.

“Many hotel workers often find their work environment threatening and intimidating and their employment status tenuous,” Burke said.

The ordinance now goes before the full city council.

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