Law Firm Supports Senate Bill Designed To Help Hotel Housekeepers
Many of us who travel for business or pleasure may not enjoy spending time living out of a suitcase, but that inconvenience is often outweighed by the fact that while traveling you can leave behind some of the mundane chores of everyday life. You don’t have to change the sheets—or even make your own bed. And, what about that dirty bathtub or the less-than-spotless bathroom floor? No worries, housekeeping will take care of that mess, it’s their job.
What many of us don’t realize, however, is that it’s a back-breaking job, one that impacts negatively and painfully the workers’ shoulders, wrists, hands, fingers, backs, knees, legs and feet. This fact is not lost on California Senator Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), whose mother was a housekeeper for most of her life.
This is one reason why he introduced Senate Bill (SB) 432, calling for hotels to use fitted sheets that require less lifting of mattresses than with traditional flat sheets. It also calls for hotels to use mops and long-handled tools so that housekeepers won’t have to stoop or kneel to scrub bathrooms and floors.
SB 432 is backed by the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association (CAAA) and UNITE HERE, the hotel workers’ union. California’s Senate Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations voted recently 5-2 to pass the measure. Next, the bill goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“If SB 432 becomes law, it will go a long way toward reducing the amount of workplace injuries suffered by hotel housekeepers,” says David Goldstein, a Workers’ Compensation Partner in the law firm of Gordon, Edelstein, Krepack, Grant, Felton & Goldstein, LLP (GEK). Goldstein and his firm have long been active in the leadership of CAAA, a statewide organization that advocates for injured workers' rights. He is a past president of the Southern California Chapter of CAAA and has served on the Board of Directors of the statewide organization.
“A lot of people don’t understand how physically demanding these housekeeping jobs are. On a single day, a housekeeper may be required to clean more than 20 rooms, scrubbing floor after floor on hands and knees, and making up to 45 beds, which requires lifting mattresses that can weigh about 100 pounds each.
“We see the results of these grueling jobs in our office, which is why we are dedicated to fighting for justice on behalf of injured housekeepers, among others. When many of us speak of leaving the work day behind when we get home, we’re referring to deadlines, quotas, meetings, projects…things that don’t affect our ability to pick up our toddler or sit down long enough to enjoy a movie, television program or a good book pain-free. When it comes to those who work as housekeepers, they have constant, physically painful reminders of their work day.”
For the past 30 years, GEK has been on the front lines of workers’ rights and, therefore, we stand firmly behind de León and those who back SB 432. As the bill moves through the legislative process, we will keep you updated as to its progress.
In addition, you may want to visit our website, www.geklaw.com for other news and information that is pertinent to those injured on or off the job. If you would like to speak with an attorney, please call us at 213-739-7000 for a free, confidential consultation.