Hotel and motel operators need to be aware of and preparing for the new rules, which require electronic security alarms for those working in guestrooms and restrooms as well as alarm monitoring and response, among other safety provisions.
The ordinance, approved by Anaheim’s City Council in June, also requires reporting of incidents to hotel management for tracking and remedying, notifying guests of security policies at check-in and warning that violations will result in removal at their own cost, and paid time for training and to report any incidents to Anaheim Police.
The rules already are part of Anaheim’s municipal code and take effect Jan. 1, a phase-in period to give hotels and motels time to get security alarms, to prepare for monitoring and to meet the law’s other requirements, if they’re not already doing so.
Here’s an overview:
Who is covered
The law covers hotels, motels, apartment hotels, extended-stay hotels, hostels and private residential clubs that rent rooms for 30 days or less.
The law does not apply to rooming and boarding houses, single-room occupancy housing, licensed bed and breakfasts within a home or short-term rentals. Corporate housing may be exempt if not located in a hotel, extended-stay or apartment hotel.
Personal security devices
Hotels and motels are required to provide electronic security devices, or alarms, to employees working by themselves in a guestroom or restroom. Devices are not required for those working in groups with other employees. Devices must be provided at no cost and ensured to be working by management.
The devices are for workers encountering or witnessing violent or threatening activity on the job. Workers are protected from any adverse action for using a device or fleeing a perceived threat, unless in cases of clear, intentional misuse or false claims.
Hotel and motel workers also have the option of calling 911 or using a security device, depending on the situation, with all of the same rights and protections.
Security device monitoring
At all times, a hotel or motel needs to have designated monitoring and response personnel who can receive alerts from security devices and provide immediate on-scene assistance in the event of an alert. Hotels must keep accurate, current records of response personnel assignments.
Incident reporting, accommodations
Hotels and motels must allow workers up to three hours of paid time on the day of an incident to report violent or threatening activity to Anaheim Police and to consult with a counselor or adviser of their choice.
Employers cannot prevent a worker from reporting incidents to police or take or threaten any negative action based on a worker’s decision to report or not report violent or threatening conduct to police.
Upon worker request, hotels and motels must provide reasonable accommodations to a worker who has experienced violent or threatening activity, such as changes in work schedule or reassignment to another vacant position.
Hotels and motels must notify guests of Anaheim’s worker protection rules at check-in. Guests must acknowledge either electronically or in writing that “Anaheim law protects hotel workers from threatening behavior, and in compliance with such law, this hotel provides personal security devices to its employees.”
Lodging operators must also prominently display in each guestroom notification that “Anaheim law protects hotel workers from threatening behavior,” referencing chapter 6.101 of the Anaheim Municipal Code, and notifying guests that personal security devices are provided to employees.
Hotels and motels must train workers on how to use security devices and on how to respond to alarms. Training is paid and must be done within 30 days of Jan. 1, 2024, or within 30 days for newly hired workers after that.
Training must also cover worker rights under the city’s ordinance and be offered in English and any language spoken by at least 10 percent or more of workers, with Spanish being among the most common in Anaheim.
Lodging employers must keep records of training and of incidents where the personal security devices were activated. In the case of incident activations, records must be kept for a period of three years.
Lodging employers reasonably unable to implement personal security devices and other provisions by Jan. 1, may apply for an extension.
If you’re a lodging employer looking for more on Anaheim’s hotel worker protections law, please call the city manager’s office at (714) 765-5162.