Safety button could protect workers from harassment

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Many workplaces have have made changes to become more mindful of harrassment in the wake of the “Me Too” movement. Now, one senator is working to make sure hotels and casinos are no exception.

“No one, no one should feel unsafe in their working environment.” Senator Ram Villivalam said. He is working to fight harrasment and assualt for a group of employees. “The issue we are addressing is the statistics we have seen regarding sexual harrassment and sexual assualt in hotels, motels and casinos.”

Villivalam says nearly 58 percent of  hotel workers in Chicagoland have experienced some form of harrassment. He wants every hotel and casino to have a button or notification system available for workers to press, especially when working isolated spaces.

Darin Dame of the Residents Inn and the Hotel Motel Association of Illinois says although his hotel does not have a button for workers, he does have a safey plan in place that his team members follow.

“If it becomes a state law we would [get a button],” said Dame. “We feel like there are other ways around it that may be more cost effective for businesses.”

Whether the bills becomes law or not, Dame said safety remains a priority for his industry.

“We take our team members, the safety of our team members and their work environment is very important to us. We take that as one of our highest standards that we work on.”

The bill made it out the Senate by a vote of 51 to 3. Villivalam said the he is confident it will have enough support int the House as well.

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