"Ely Dar was going about her nightly turn-down service rounds at a Westin hotel in downtown Seattle when she knocked on a hotel room door.
A male guest invited her in, and as she was preparing the ice bucket on the table, she suddenly felt something on her back.
'I feel the guest on my back, and then the guest [hugged] me. I'm so scared,' she tells Here & Now's Robin Young. 'And then I turn around and then I push him, and then I ran away.'
Dar told her manager who reported the incident to security. The guest later apologized, and Dar said never pressed charges because it was a new job and she didn't want to lose it. She says if she hadn't been able to push the guest away, she fears the situation would have been worse.
Because of the prevalence of such behavior, hotels have been taking steps to protect their workers from harassment, even before the #MeToo movement. Seattle passed a law in 2016 requiring all hotels to provide housekeepers with panic buttons they can use if they are sexually assaulted, harassed or threatened by a guest.
...Hotel workers are especially vulnerable to harassment because of the class disparity between workers and guests, says Karen Kent, president of Unite Here's Chicago chapter.
'Hotel housekeepers work alone, cleaning rooms,' she told Weekend Edition last year. 'And oftentimes, there's a power imbalance between the women who clean them — who are often women of color, immigrants — and guests who have those rooms who pay hundreds of dollars a night.'"