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Congressional candidate proposes panic buttons for Miami Beach hotel workers



The wave of opposition to sexual harassment — at least in the workplace — is crashing over Miami Beach.

The tourism town, where the majority of Miami-Dade’s estimated 11,500 housekeepers and other hotel workers are employed, may soon be the nation’s next city to enact laws aimed at protecting hotel workers from assault or improper advances by hotel guests. The move follows a national reckoning against sexual harassment that has exposed alleged offenders including Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and morning talk show host Matt Lauer.

The Miami Beach proposal is modeled after mandatory practices in other cities, including Chicago and Seattle, that arm staff with panic buttons in case there is an incident. The portable panic buttons would be connected to hotel security or management, allowing them to act quickly if a worker is harassed or assaulted.

The laws also create a framework for reporting incidents, including allowing workers to contact police, prohibiting hotels from firing workers who speak out and monitoring guests who act improperly toward staff.

Miami Beach Commissioner and Democratic congressional candidate Kristen Rosen Gonzalez wants to see similar rules in Miami Beach. Click here to read about her proposal.