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Hotels Turn to Technology to Protect Staff from Workplace Violence

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Any hotel employee who works alone and without access to immediate assistance in cases of emergency can become a victim,” said Philip Farina, vice president of corporate loss control and loss prevention at Aimbridge Hospitality. He has seen offenses of all kinds, ranging from verbal harassment and suggestive comments to groping and physical assaults. “Hotels face the same problems that occur in society at large,” he said. “And those problems occur across the board, even at the best properties.”

Any hotel employee who works alone and without access to immediate assistance in cases of emergency can become a victim,” said Philip Farina, vice president of corporate loss control and loss prevention at Aimbridge Hospitality. He has seen offenses of all kinds, ranging from verbal harassment and suggestive comments to groping and physical assaults. “Hotels face the same problems that occur in society at large,” he said. “And those problems occur across the board, even at the best properties.”

Several factors contribute to occupational hazards. First, there’s the imbalance of power. Class disparity plays a role, particularly between housekeepers — who are often immigrants and women of color — and guests. Moreover, the nature of hotel service jobs contributes to the level of risk. Employees work late at night and often must deal with guests who are stressed, tired, and intoxicated. Hotels also have many isolated areas, with staff sometimes working without the supervision and support of a team.

The pandemic only made matters worse, Farina noted. “Many people lost their jobs, and Covid-related restrictions took a heavy psychological toll.” Moreover, the pressure to keep properties open resulted in lower room rates at many hotels, and a different type of clientele began to visit. “In some cases, people who engaged in criminal activity, including prostitution and human trafficking, were coming in.” An industry-wide labor shortage also resulted in a shift toward eliminating daily guest room housekeeping, which made it difficult for properties to maintain security protocols.

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ROAR’s mission is to empower people through technology to help create safer organizations.