Seattle Initiative Reaches State Supreme Court

The hotel industry marked a significant victory last December when the Washington State Court of Appeals ruled in our favor and invalidated Seattle Initiative 124 (I-124), a ballot measure mandating employee panic buttons and including a series of complicated workforce rules and discriminatory blacklisting provisions. The City of Seattle appealed the decision, and this week the Washington Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, with an outcome expected later this year.

AHLA, the Washington Hospitality Association and the Seattle Hotel Association originally filed suit against the City of Seattle over I-124, arguing that the ordinance violated the state’s “single subject” rule, and that the blacklisting provision included in the initiative was unconstitutional and stripped both our associates and our guests of their due process rights. We believe the Washington Supreme Court will ultimately agree with our position and invalidate the law.

I-124 is still in effect while this case works its way through the legal process. Importantly, during this time period, hotels should continue to comply with the law.

The hotel industry takes seriously any allegations of misconduct, and we are committed to ensuring a safe and healthy work environment for employees and guests, as demonstrated by the 5-Star Promise announced in September. The flaws contained in I-124 were too significant to go unchallenged. Hotels have a long legacy of investing in employee and guest safety. Going forward, we will continue working to ensure America’s hotels are secure places for all those who work in and visit them.