Many people who stay in hotels, even very expensive luxury hotels, will leave all kinds of trash for housekeepers to deal with. According to a recent news article from NBC Los Angeles, this often includes medical waste that must be specially handled and safely disposed of in an approved receptacle.
While the hotel chains are required to show a safety video to housekeepers and other hotel staff, according to a complaint filed by the employees of one high-end hotel in Beverley Hills, many workers claim they are not provided with the waste disposal equipment and other safety equipment featured in the worker safety video. In other words, their employer is telling them they are aware of the problem, want employees to know there is a hazard and the safe way to handle medical waste, but allegedly does not want to spend the money providing workers with the necessary tools to complete this task.
These medical and biological waste items can include used needles, bloody sheets and other linens. They are left quite often. One of the reasons for blood sheets is that the hospital is located across the street from a major medical center, and many patients will get treated or even have surgery and then stay in the local area while they recover more before going back home. Housekeeping workers say that they are often afraid to clean these rooms occupied by recovering patients, because they know there will be a lot of medical waste left behind, and they will have do what they can to remove it without getting stuck with any needles or otherwise getting infected. They did not file the employment lawsuit in Los Angeles without first trying to first talk to their employer. According to their complaint, they tried to speak with the hotel manager, but he would not listen to their concerns. One of the major concerns is that they are not provided with an approved red container in which to dispose sharps and other medical waste. As a result of this, employees are often required to make do with what they have, like putting used syringes in an empty disposable water bottle and disposing it in the same dumpster as the rest of the trash. This is not only dangerous, but also illegal.
At one point, the hotel workers tried to speak with their manager with a cell phone camera recording the interaction, and the manager can be seen allegedly walking away from a large group of employees who were trying to speak with him in the hotel kitchen. The hotel was contacted by a report in connection with this article, and a spokesperson said they were not aware that a complaint had been filed as of this point and said they are committed to ensuring the health and safety of their workers and guests and also claim that the hotel is compliant with all requirements off the United States Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA).
As noted in the complaint, one worker had no choice but to pick up a used needle with her bare hand and pricked her finger in the process. She said her finger would not stop bleeding, and she was very concerned about the transmission of a disease.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 714-937-2020.
Luxury Hotel Workers Claim Unsanitary Conditions, April 27, 2016, New 4 Los Angeles, By Kim Baldonado
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Top 5 Areas the EEOC is Pursuing Litigation to Protect Workers, Jan. 15, 2016, Orange County gender discrimination attorney blog