Should hotel housekeepers be equipped with panic buttons to provide security and fend off sexual assaults?
In the wake of the affair involving Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who resigned as head of the IMF and is out on bail in New York City facing seven charges, including attempted rape, a Queens, N.Y., assemblyman was slated to introduce a bill May 23 that would require hotels in New York to provide emergency panic buttons for housekeepers.
Assemblyman Rory Lancman conducted a press conference yesterday to reveal his legislative intentions outside Manhattan's Sofitel Hotel, where authorities claim Strauss-Kahn allegedly sexually assaulted a housekeeper who was attempting to clean his suite.
Lancman noted that many homeowners have such emergency alert panic buttons as part of their home security systems, as do many elderly people who use them in case of a medical emergency.
The panic buttons would be able to either transmit an audible alarm to hotel security staff or send a signal to a central monitoring station elsewhere to provide an alert that any emergency situation has occurred and that help is required, Lancman said.
The bill would require hotels statewide in New York State to provide such panic buttons to housekeepers. Lancman said the costs of obtaining the panic buttons for hotels would not be prohibitive.
Sexual assaults or other inappropriate conduct by guests against housekeepers is "very common and we need to do everything we can to protect them," Lancman said, likening the need to construction workers and others who are afforded on-the-job safety protections.
Lancman is chairman of a New York State Assembly subcommittee on workplace safety.
Here is a YouTube video of Lancman's press conference outside the hotel.