Indeed, the “business trip” has gotten so hazardous that two cities – Seattle and New York – have passed initiatives that mandate that hotels supply their housekeepers with panic buttons. Harassment is so common that a hospitality careers website offers a checklist, albeit a toothless one, of what maids and cleaning women can do to protect themselves at work.
Threats involve creepy guests whacking off, grabbing them by their aprons, or throwing them down on the bed, as former IMF managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn allegedly did to a hotel maid in 2011.
And if you think stronger unions always offer better protection for workers on this score, think again. According to a recent report, even staff at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have faced charges of sexual harassment – and that’s the largest service workers’ union.