Marriott has been trying to deflect the concerns of female housekeepers for years now, but things are starting to heat up for the hotel brand.
Leticia Vallejo, a housekeeper at a Marriott hotel in Irvine, California, sued two of the chain’s subsidiaries Monday in California Superior Court, saying the defendants didn’t do enough to protect her from the alleged sexual misconduct of male guests.
Vallejo, 51, said she requested a sign to keep people out of hotel bathrooms while she cleaned, but her managers initially did nothing, according to a copy of the complaint. Her reports about incidents of alleged sexual misconduct and assault went unaddressed, she said.
The lawsuit comes after a year of agitation by Marriott employees seeking better safety measures. At a shareholder meeting in May, eight female employees who worked in Marriott hotels shared similar experiences or urged executives to take action. A two-month strike this winter yielded stronger harassment protections for thousands of unionized Marriott workers. In the complaint, Vallejo seeks unspecified damages and injunctive relief.
Marriott representatives didn’t immediately return calls or emails seeking comment on the lawsuit. Marriott said in a statement last year that the “safety of everyone at our properties is always a top priority” and that it was introducing “associate alert devices” across all of its locations, a process that would continue through 2020.
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Photo credit: More hotels are under scrutiny as #MeToo spreads to the service industry. Daniel Acker / Bloomberg