The Washington State Court of Appeals on Monday invalidated Seattle Initiative 124, a ballot measure passed in 2016 affecting hotel employees and guests. In American Hotel & Lodging Association, et al. v. City of Seattle, et al., the Appeals Court ruled unanimously that the ordinance violated Washington State’s Single Subject rule and that the blacklisting provision included in the initiative was unconstitutional and stripped both associates and guests of their due process rights.
Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of AHLA, issued the following statement in response to the Court’s ruling.
“This week’s ruling is welcome news for hotel owners and operators not only in Seattle, but throughout the country, setting an important legal precedent. The hotel industry is an industry of people serving people, and the safety and security of our employees and guests is of paramount importance. We take any allegation of sexual harassment or misconduct extremely seriously, and we are committed to ensuring a safe and healthy workplace for all team members, as evidenced by the 5-Star Promise which was announced in September. But the flaws contained in this measure were too significant to go unchallenged.
“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. And, 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.
“Hotels have a long legacy of investing in employee and guest safety. Going forward, we will continue to work, day in and day out, so America’s hotels are secure places for all those who work in and visit them.”
Serving the hospitality industry for more than a century, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) is the largest national association solely representing all segments of the eight million jobs the U.S. lodging industry supports, including brands, hotel owners, REITs, chains, franchisees, management companies, independent properties, bed and breakfasts, state hotel associations and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AHLA proudly represents a dynamic hotel industry of more than 54,000 properties that supports $1.1 trillion in U.S. sales and generates nearly $170 billion in taxes to local, state and federal governments.