United States: Hotel Workers Face Sexual Harassment at Work
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 2:55 PM

Recent interviews with hotel workers in New York City, United States, revealed that sexual harassment in the workplace is not uncommon.  Since many hotel staff are immigrants, they often do not report sexual harassment for fear of losing their jobs or even being deported.  In addition, some are afraid that hotel management will not support an employee over a paying customer.  The most common attitude, reported one former hotel employee, is that staff who are unhappy with the treatment they receive from customers can find another job.  That is not an option for many immigrant employees; however, as they are often either undocumented or have work visas tied to specific employment.


On May 14, 2011, former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested in New York City for allegedly attacking and attempting to rape a hotel maid.  The victim is a thirty-two year old West African immigrant.  Following the arrest, two more female employees of the hotel made similar allegations against Strauss-Kahn.  One employee at a luxury hotel in New York said the allegations and arrest may generate changes in hotel policies which were previously focused primarily on guest safety.


Compiled from: Hotel Maids Say Sexual Harassment Is Part of the Job, (23 May 2011).

For more information and commentary on the case of Dominque Strauss-Kahn see I.M.F. Chief, Apprehended at Airport, Is Accused of Sexual Attack and Dominique Strauss-Kahn's Case Already a Victory for Our Legal System by Cheryl Thomas, Director of the Women's Human Rights Program at The Advocates for Human Rights.