New Mexico lawmaker proposing panic button for hotel maids

New Mexico

It’s a surprisingly dangerous job: Now one New Mexico lawmaker is looking to create an extra level of security for hotel housekeepers.

That state lawmaker wants to arm hotel maids with panic buttons to call for help when guests cross the line with them. 

“I just stopped and thought about what it would be like to go into the hotel room of a strange man and have him in there…just kind of the unease,” State Rep. Liz Thomson says. 

Thomson says that’s why she’s introducing a bill that would require hotels and motels to provide panic buttons to any employee working alone in a guest room. 

“Any chance we have to keep workers safe, particularly women,” Thomson says. 

Major hotel chains across the country have already started handing them out to housekeeping staff. 

“If they were in the room and they were cleaning, and a suspicious person approached them, and they were in the room and they were having an uncomfortable conversation, and they felt threatened in any way, those are the types of situations where we would want them to press that button,” says Nicholas Kuhns, Manager, Embassy Suites Hotel.

If the law passes, hotel employers would have to keep a list of guests accused of sexually harassing or assaulting employees, and they wouldn’t be allowed back at the hotel for three years. 

“It’s got to be serious and it’s got to be enough that the person is willing to sign under penalty of perjury that this actually happened,” Thomson says.

The Greater Albuquerque Innkeepers association says it’s something New Mexico has needed for a while. 

“Over the years that I’ve been a general manager of various hotels, there have been situations where housekeepers our room service attendants ran into a situation where they could certainly use assistance,” says Executive Director Charlie Gray. 

Employees that use the panic button would be able to transfer to a different floor or area and receive paid time off to contact police. 

More and more cities and state are looking at laws requiring these hotel maid panic buttons. Some people are calling it an extension of the ‘Me Too’ movement.

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