Hotel Sexual Assault |
Sexual assaults can occur anywhere predators and opportunity come together, whether you’re at work or on vacation. The #MeToo era has cast more light on egregious activities occurring in hotel rooms in California and nationwide. Long before Harvey Weinstein, Lewis & Llewellyn has been zealously fighting against hotels looking to protect their reputation more than care for their employees and guests. We won’t allow hoteliers to victim-blame or hide behind weak defenses. If you or a loved one have suffered a sexual assault in a hotel here in California or abroad, we can help you recover compensation for your trauma.
Hotels Are a Hotbed for Sexual Assault
A 2018 survey of 843 women in the Hollywood entertainment industry found that 94% of these women experienced sexual harassment or assault. More than a third of these women were invited to “business meetings” in private hotel rooms, where it was easier to victimize them.
Aside from the entertainment industry, hotels are a rare place for victimization, relatively speaking, but it still happens. The National Crime Victimization Survey found that hotels are the location in just 0.3% of violent crimes reported each year. Even so, that can translate to 7,840 sexual assaults in hotels, where people should be relaxing and enjoying a nice vacation. These figures are likely a small fraction of what is actually occurring, as most sexual assaults go unreported.
In some cases, California law protects your right to file as a “Jane or John Doe.” This can keep your identity private, while still allowing you to pursue justice. Contact us to discreetly discuss your case.
Can Travel-Booking Sites Be Held Accountable?
In some sexual assault cases, the perpetrators and the hotel operators aren’t the only ones who can be held liable for the abuse. If you booked a vacation on a travel site, you may be wondering if they bear any responsibility in a hotel sexual assault case.
Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act protects third-party publishers (such as Yelp, Craigslist, and TripAdvisor) from liability for what people post on their sites and allows websites to block objectionable content. However, the courts have ruled in the past that these rules do not apply if the plaintiffs are able to demonstrate that the website operators knew of the risks beforehand and failed to warn their audience.
Panic Buttons for Hotel Housekeepers
Housekeepers are victims of harassment and assault with alarming frequency. More than 25 percent of sexual harassment charges filed in the past decade occurred in service-sector industries by hotel workers, airline attendants, and restaurant wait staff, according to The Center for American Progress. In Chicago, unions say 58% of their hotel workers had experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment by guests.
Hotel employers have a duty to provide employees with sexual violence prevention training, screen other staff members, and report any known assaults to the proper authorities. Seattle and Chicago have already gone a step further and enacted new laws that require hoteliers to install panic buttons for housekeepers. Now, at the push of a button, housekeepers can alert supervisors immediately if there are unwanted sexual advances or trouble brewing in one of the rooms.
Major hotel brands like Marriott are also considering implementing panic buttons for hotel housekeepers across all properties in their portfolios. Miami Beach and Las Vegas currently have similar bills on the floor. California is following suit with housekeeper panic button initiatives in Long Beach and Rancho Palos Verdes. The proposed AB-1761 would not only provide panic buttons but would also blacklist certain guests accused of assault.
After a housekeeper at the Pacific Pearl Hotel was assaulted, the California State Court of Appeals ruled in October 2017 that California hotels can be held responsible for negligent security when employees are sexually harassed or assaulted by trespassers or problematic guests. Though panic buttons can be costly and time-consuming to implement, it would be a wise move forward in an age where big companies can no longer avoid liability.
If you work for a hotel in California, where you have suffered sexual harassment or abuse, you don’t have to wait for the law to catch up. Contact Lewis & Llewellyn for a free, confidential case evaluation.
You may be afraid to sue if you want to keep your job, but we have had many clients stay with their employers when an amicable settlement is reached. The suit can be a necessary wake-up call that better practices need to be put in place to protect workers.
Lewis & Llewellyn Case Results
Our firm has helped victims of sexual abuse obtain recoveries when they were abused by hotel employees or contractors. We have also succeeded in bringing cases when a hotel or rental property was unsecured; that defect of the property contributed to the case of sexual abuse.
Compassionate Legal Support for Hotel Guests and Employees
Here at the Law Firm of Lewis & Llewellyn, we feel the tide is turning. The social media savvy public demands protection from travel sites, hotel management, and their employers. They will not stand for a culture where information gatekeepers silence reviews detailing sexual abuse or promote known assailants as honorable business professionals. Though the litigation climate is favorable to victims, you cannot win a case against a big-name hotel without the right representation.
We will help you explore all legal avenues for pursuing justice and find the support you need to pursue healing after your traumatizing assault. Our extensive experience has earned us a place as California’s Super Lawyers. Everyone on our small teams has years of experience and specializes in civil sexual assault cases. We pride ourselves in offering “boutique” support to our clients, as we have a personal vested interest in ending the epidemic of sexual abuse.
Did you know there are no upfront costs with Lewis & Llewellyn?
Every case review and consultation is free. Should we decide to take on your case, you will sign a contract defining payment, but no money is collected. Any fees required are factored into the settlement or compensation amount.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain from speaking with an experienced attorney regarding your legal options.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this blog is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this blog or on this website should be construed as legal advice from Lewis & Llewellyn LLP. Neither your receipt of information from this website, nor your use of this website to contact Lewis & Llewellyn LLP creates an attorney-client relationship between you and the firm or any of its lawyers. No reader of this website should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this website without seeking the appropriate legal advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s jurisdiction.