Seattle's Initiative 124, a union-backed ordinance focused
on hotel employee safety and labor standards, was overturned by Washington's
Court of Appeals.
Passed in late 2016 by the Seattle City Council, Initiative
124 required hotels with at least 60 rooms to provide panic buttons to
employees working alone in rooms. Seattle became the first U.S. city to require
hotels to provide panic buttons.
More controversially, the measure required hotels to ban
guests accused of sexual harassment or sexual assault for a minimum of three
years, without due process. Accused guests would have their name on the hotel's
list for five years. The appeals court declared that part of Initiative 124
The appeals court also ruled that the ordinance violates the
state's single-subject rule, which dictates that a measure can only address a
single issue or topic.
The measure sparked immediate pushback from the American
Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), Seattle Hotel Association and
Washington Hospitality Association, which spearheaded efforts to overturn the
"As we stated in court, we opposed Seattle Initiative
124 because we believe it violates the due process rights of our guests and
places hotel employees in the role of law enforcement, without proper training,"
said AH&LA president and CEO Katherine Lugar in a statement. "While
the initiative was passed under the guise of employee safety, it included
several regulations that have nothing to do with safety, such as work rules and
health insurance requirements. We are pleased that the Washington Court of
Appeals agreed with our assessment and invalidated the initiative."