Housekeepers, sometimes also called maids, are essential to the smooth functioning of hotels. Just one great or unpleasant experience with housekeeping can make or break a guest’s experience.
Unfortunately, many employers do not give housekeepers the respect they deserve. These workers may be victims of unfair or even illegal treatment.
Housekeeping can be hard work, putting a strain on employees’ backs and other parts of their body. Even carpal tunnel syndrome can develop from repetitive movements.
Some workplaces have a culture that discourages workers’ compensation claims. For example, there might be a pattern of firing employees who make claims and of accusing employees of falsifying claims. As a result, housekeepers may not get the medical help they need, and their health problems worsen.
Many housekeepers are female and can be subject to sexual harassment and other types of discrimination from both employees and hotel guests. Male housekeepers can be victims of harassment as well.
Discrimination may also occur in areas such as race. For instance, black housekeepers might be passed over in favor of housekeepers who have lighter skin.
Wage and hour
Employers pay low in the first place. Further, they might shortchange housekeepers on their paychecks, figuring that they are either so desperate for work they will overlook the shortage or that they will not notice at all. Similarly, housekeepers might work overtime but not receive appropriate pay for it. Alternatively, management might resort to scheduling contortions in order to avoid paying housekeepers for more than 40 hours per week. This may not be illegal per se but is unfair.
There can also be issues with work and lunch breaks. Maybe employers pressure housekeepers to skip these breaks or just decide not to “grant” them some days.
Lack of job advancement
Managers can also be reluctant to give housekeepers opportunities in other departments. For instance, a housekeeper who is no longer able to physically keep up with the job may request a transfer or promotion into the front desk or serving in the restaurant and lose the job because of it.