HELP ALERT Mobile Panic Alarm from RF Technologies (RFT) Helping Protect Vulnerable Hospitality Workers from Workplace Harassment

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Up to 60% of Chicago hotel housekeeping staff estimated to have been harassed by a guest.

"This can absolutely prevent things from escalating. There’s growing recognition that employees working in isolation are at risk for harassment and/or assault."

Most of the recent conversation about harassment in the workplace has focused on the numerous high-profile individuals who have been the focus of such allegations. While this coverage has served to put an important issue in the spotlight, it’s equally important to include awareness of those workers – far from the public eye – who are often considered at greatest risk of assault and/or harassment.

For hospitality industry workers, such workplace harassment is all-too-real a concern, especially among those in housekeeping and other roles that call for working alone and in guestrooms. In fact, according to a Washington Post article detailing the abuse of a hotel maid during the presidential inauguration in D.C. this year, “such incidents are all too common in an industry where about half of employees say they have been assaulted or harassed by a guest, according to union surveys.” They add that much of the abuse goes unreported as staff fear losing their jobs. Even before the recent onslaught of news reports related to these allegations, the call for addressing hospitality staff security had been gaining momentum, fueled by both industry organizations and newly-passed laws and resolutions in a number of major cities calling for various forms of protection for these at-risk workers.

One form of protection that has been getting a great deal of attention in recent months are mobile panic devices that enable staff to immediately alert security (and send automatic location notification) in the event they feel threatened. For example, RF Technologies (RFT) HELP ALERT® Panic Alert System for Hospitality was featured in November in a news story (FOX32-TV, Chicago) highlighting a recently-passed Chicago city ordinance intended to protect hospitality workers from assault and other forms of intimidation and violence in the workplace. Backed by labor unions including Unite Here Local 1, the new anti-harassment ordinance stipulates that employees working alone in Chicago hotels must be issued panic buttons such as RFT’s HELP ALERT wireless pendant that would enable them to immediately alert security if they encounter uncomfortable or potentially dangerous situations in guests’ rooms. The ordinance goes into effect in January 2019, with a requirement for workers to be equipped with the personal panic alarms no later than July 1 of that year.

In discussing the impact of staff being equipped with personal security devices Marina Willis, head of RFT’s PinPoint business unit (which oversees the HELP ALERT product line) relates, “This can absolutely prevent things from escalating. There’s growing recognition in the industry that employees working in isolation are at risk for harassment and/or assault. If the individual has the ability to promptly and discreetly alert security to a situation while remaining calm, knowing that help is on the way, escalation can be avoided.”

Hotel workers are already wearing RFT’s HELP ALERT in cities including New York and Washington, D.C. In Seattle, similar protection is included as part of Initiative 124 (also referred to as I-124) under which hotels are required to provide workers with panic buttons. Similar mandates and/or ordinances are in-process and are likely to be adopted soon in areas in California, and elsewhere, where such protection is being requested with increased frequency by staff members and local unions representing hospitality workers.

“RFT is pleased to be a part of such an important initiative focused on keeping hospitality workers safe,” says Willis. “RFT has 30 years of experience keeping people safe in hotels, hospitals, senior living facilities, and the public sector. We agree it’s time for this issue to come to the forefront, and for action to finally be a priority.”

To view FOX32/Chicago feature story, follow this link:

For additional information on this important issue, follow these news links:

Also, a July 2016 report issued by Unite Here Local 1:

About RF Technologies
RF Technologies provides safety solutions at over 10,000 senior living, healthcare, education and hospitality facilities nationwide. Life safety solutions such as CODE ALERT® Wander Management, QUICK RESPONSE® Wireless Nurse Call, SAFE PLACE® Infant Security, and HELP ALERT® reduce risk for residents, staff, and the facility; innovations such as RFT CARES® smartphone application improve caregiver coordination and efficiency. Backed by 30 years of experience in senior living, RF Technologies’ solutions are UL-certified to meet today’s life safety standards. For information visit:

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Brenda Gallenberger
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