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

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Date Published: 05/09/2018 09:00 PM
AB1761:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 09, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 23, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 1761


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

January 04, 2018


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


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1761, as amended, 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, as defined, with a panic button, as specified, in order to summon immediate assistance when working alone in the guestroom. The bill would require a hotel employer to compile and maintain a list, for a period of 5 years, 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, for a period of 3 years, to any person on that list. 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, medical professional, or an attorney. The bill would require a hotel employer to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee who has been subjected to an act of violence, sexual assault, or sexual harassment by a guest, as specified. The bill would require a hotel employer, upon request of an employee, to contact law enforcement to report an act constituting a crime and to cooperate in the investigation. The bill would prohibit a hotel employer from discriminating or retaliating against an employee who reasonably uses a panic button, reports a specified act, requests time off, reasonable accommodations under these provisions. The bill would establish a minimum standard of protection for these employees and would authorize the enactment and enforcement of more protective policies.
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:


SECTION 1.

 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:

6403.7.
 (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. The hotel employer shall develop an appropriate protocol, including any necessary training, for how staff, security, and management shall respond when a panic button is activated. The protocol shall be calculated to ensure an immediate on-scene response to the greatest extent possible.

(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)

(2) Post a notice on the back of each guestroom door with the heading, “The Law Protects Hotel Housekeepers and Other Employees from Sexual Assault and 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 a hotel 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.

(b) If an employee informs the hotel employer that the employee has been subjected to an act of violence, sexual assault, or sexual harassment by a guest, then the hotel employer shall do the following:
(1) Provide the employee with paid time off to contact law enforcement, seek injunctive or other legal relief, contact an attorney, or seek medical treatment, counseling, or other services for any physical or mental injuries resulting from the act of violence, sexual assault, or sexual harassment. As a condition of taking time off for purposes of this paragraph, the employee shall give the employer reasonable advance notice of the employee’s intention to take time off, unless the advance notice is not feasible. When an unscheduled absence occurs, the hotel employer shall not take an adverse action against the employee if the employee, within a reasonable time, provides documentation showing that the absence was for a reason set forth in this paragraph.
(2) Provide, upon request by the employee, reasonable accommodations for an employee who has been subjected to an act of violence, sexual assault, or sexual harassment by a guest. Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to, transfer, reassignment, modified schedule, or any other reasonable adjustment to a job structure, workplace facility, or work requirement.
(3) Upon request of the employee, report the act committed against the employee to law enforcement and to cooperate in any law enforcement investigation, if the act constitutes a crime. This paragraph does not prevent a hotel employer from reporting a criminal act to law enforcement without the consent of, or a request by, the employee.
(4) Comply with any other obligations required by any applicable local, state, or federal law, including, but not limited to, the requirement to investigate all reports of workplace harassment and to take appropriate corrective actions, as provided in subdivisions (j) and (k) of Section 12940 of the Government Code.
(c) A hotel employer shall not discharge or in any manner discriminate or retaliate against an employee who reasonably uses a panic button, reports an act of violence, sexual assault, or sexual harassment, takes time off, or requests reasonable accommodations as provided by this section. The protections provided by this subdivision are in addition to any protections against retaliation provided under Section 98.6, 98.7, or 1102.5.

(c)

(d) 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. employer. “Employee” also includes a subcontracted worker.
(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 and includes any contracted, leased, or sublet premises connected to or operated in conjunction with the purpose of the lodging establishment.
(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)

(e) 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.

(e)

(f) This section establishes a minimum standard to protect against violence or sexual harassment of all hotel employees in this state, unless not subject to this section, and is in addition to, and supplementary to, any other federal, state, or local law or ordinance, or any rule or regulation issued thereunder. A city, county, or city and county shall have the power to adopt laws or ordinances, and rules and regulations thereunder, establishing antiviolence and antiharassment standards for hotel employees within their jurisdictions. Antiviolence and antiharassment standards for hotel employees established by applicable federal, state, or local law or ordinance, or any rule or regulation issued thereunder, which are more favorable to hotel employees than the minimum standards applicable under this section, or any rule or regulation issued hereunder, shall not be affected by this section and those other laws, rules, or regulations, and shall have full force and effect and may be enforced as provided by law.