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Hotel Workers In Sacramento County Could Soon Have Panic Buttons

John Locher / AP Photo

In this April 4, 2017, file photo, the fountains of Bellagio erupt along the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas. The union representing hotel workers in Las Vegas will ask casino-resort operators to give every housekeeper a 'panic button.'

John Locher / AP Photo

Sacramento County's Board of Supervisors is discussing a measure aimed at protecting hotel workers from sexual harassment and assault.

The measure would require hotels and motels to provide housekeepers with panic buttons to alert security if they encounter sexual harassment.

"It's more frequent than what people really think it is," said Roxana Tapia is with Unite Here Local 49, which represents Sacramento hotel housekeepers. Many Sacramento-area workers have encountered guests who purposely expose themselves or do other unwanted sexual acts, she said. 

"When they knock on the door at least three times, there's guests, especially male guests, that don't answer, they don't say anything," she said. "When the housekeepers walk in, they find themselves in a very uncomfortable situation."

The California Hotel and Lodging Association did not respond to a request for comment.

Sacramento supervisors will discuss the measure Tuesday afternoon and are expected to vote on it later this month.

A union representing thousands of Las Vegas hotel workers is expected to ask casinos for panic buttons in their upcoming contract negotiations. 

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg wrote a letter in support to the Board of Supervisors and said he wants to pass a similar measure for the city of Sacramento. A similar bill is currently in the California legislature. Similar measures have passed in New York, Chicago and Seattle.  

Sally Schilling

Reporter/Podcast Producer

Sally Schilling is a Davis native and a graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She has reported on redwood poachers robbing national forests in Humboldt County and the dangers of melting tropical glaciers in the Peruvian Andes.  Read Full Bio 

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