Published: 21/06/2011

Following the recent highly publicized events at the Sofitel New York, the IUF has written to major international hotel operators, including Intercontinental, Wyndham Hotels, Marriott, Hilton, Accor, Hyatt,  Rezidor, Starwood, Carlson Hotels, and Melia to highlight the vulnerable situation of hotel housekeepers. These predominantly women and migrant workers are often employed on precarious contracts and routinely face indecent exposure and other indignities from male guests. Often they are too scared to speak out when harassment occurs for fear of losing their jobs as a result.

The risk of sexual assault and harassment by hotel guests must be treated as a workplace hazard and appropriate steps taken to protect workers. To assess their approach on this issue we have asked hotel operators for responses to the following questions:

• Do you have an anti-sexual harassment policy in place for your hotels?

• If yes, are guests made aware of this policy, and informed that harassment of staff will not be tolerated?

• Is there a sexual harassment awareness training program in place for staff?

• What procedures are in place to support a member of staff reporting harassment?

To facilitate the transposition of policy into practice, the IUF will publish these responses as they become available. We also encourage unions to integrate the necessary programs and procedures into their collective bargaining with employers in the sector.