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AB-1761 Employee safety: hotel workers.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 01/04/2018 09:00 PM


Assembly Bill No. 1761

Introduced by Assembly Members Muratsuchi, Quirk, and Carrillo
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Bonta, Kalra, Levine, and McCarty)

January 04, 2018

An act to add Section 6403.7 to the Labor Code, relating to employment.


AB 1761, as introduced, Muratsuchi. Employee safety: hotel workers.
Existing law, the California Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973, requires, among other things, that an employer provide for the safety of its employees. Existing law requires an employer to provide and use safety devices and safeguards reasonably adequate to render the employment and place of employment safe.
This bill would require, among other things, that a hotel employer, as defined, provide its employees with a panic button, as specified, in order to summon assistance when working alone in the guestroom. The bill would require a hotel employer to compile and maintain a list of guests who have been alleged to have committed an act of violence or harassment against employees at that hotel, as specified, and to decline service to any person on that list for a period of 3 years. The bill would require a hotel employer to notify an employee assigned to work in the room of any person who appears on the list and to post a specified notice in each guestroom regarding these provisions. The bill would require a hotel employer to provide paid time off to an employee who is the victim of assault in order to contact the police, a counselor, or an attorney.
The bill would impose an unspecified civil penalty on hotel employers for violations of its provisions and would provide legislative findings in support of its provisions.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


 The Legislature finds and declares:
(a) It is the intent of this measure to protect hotel employees from violent assault, including sexual assault, and sexual harassment, and to enable those employees to speak out when they experience harassment or assault on the job.
(b) Hotel employees are often asked to work alone in hotel rooms, which sometimes may be occupied, placing them at risk of violent assault, including sexual assault, and sexual harassment.

SEC. 2.

 Section 6403.7 is added to the Labor Code, to read:

 (a) A hotel employer shall do all of the following:
(1) Provide employees working alone in a guestroom with a panic button, free of charge. The employee may use the panic button, and cease work, if the employee reasonably believes there is an ongoing crime, harassment, or other emergency happening in the employee’s presence.
(2) Record any accusations that the hotel employer receives indicating that a guest has committed an act of violence or sexual harassment toward an employee. The hotel employer shall compile and maintain a list of all guests accused of such conduct for a period of five years from the date of the first accusation, during which time the employer shall retain any written documents related to the accusations.
(3) Decline service, for a period of three years, to any guest on the list described in paragraph (2) when the accusation is supported by a statement made under penalty of perjury or other evidence.
(4) Notify an employee assigned to work alone in guestrooms, prior to starting work, of any guest on the list described in paragraph (2) who is staying at the hotel, and warn that employee to exercise caution when entering that guest’s room.
(5) Post a notice on the back of each guestroom door with the heading, “The Law Protects Hotel Housekeepers and Other Employees from Violent Assault and Sexual Harassment.” The notice shall be printed in no less than 18-point type and state that panic buttons are provided to hotel employees assigned to work alone in guestrooms, including housekeepers, room servers, and other employees.
(b) An employee who informs an employer of an act of violence by a guest shall have the following rights:
(1) Upon request by the employee, receive a transfer to a different floor or work area for the duration of the guest’s stay at the hotel.
(2) Receive paid time off to contact the police, provide a police statement, and contact a counselor or attorney of the employee’s choosing.
(3) With the employee’s consent, the employer shall report the incident to the police and cooperate with the investigation.
(c) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following definitions:
(1) “Employee” means an individual who, in any particular workweek, performs at least two hours of work for a hotel employer and is not in a managerial or supervisory role.
(2) “Hotel employer” means a person, including a corporate officer or executive, who directly or indirectly, including through the services of a temporary staffing service or agency, employs or exercises control over the wages, hours, or working conditions of employees at a hotel, motel, bed and breakfast inn, or similar transient lodging establishment as defined in Section 1865 of the Civil Code.
(3) “Panic button” means an emergency contact device that an employee can use to summon immediate on-scene assistance from another employee, security personnel, or representative of the hotel employer.
(d) In lieu of any other penalty provided by Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 6423), a hotel employer that violates this section shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed ____ dollars ($____) for each day that the violation continues.