Sofitel New York permits female staff to wear trousers instead of skirts

NEW YORK CITY Female staff at Sofitel New York have been given permission to wear trousers instead of the traditional uniform skirt, two weeks after a housekeeper was allegedly sexually assaulted.

Hotel staff protested the skirt rule in the wake of IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s high-profile arrest for attempted rape. The amendment to the uniform code followed a meeting between staff and hotel management that was also attended by a New York Hotel Workers Union representative.

“We are sensitive to our team members’ comments in regards to the uniforms and understand some employees may prefer alternative uniform options,” reads a statement from Sofitel Luxury Hotels. “Sofitel employees at the participating hotels will now have the opportunity to choose between the current morning uniform of an apron-style dress or to wear the evening uniform, consisting of trousers and a tunic. Sofitel strives to provide a comfortable work environment for our team members, and in light of the recent incident at Sofitel New York, we are especially sensitive to our employees’ level of comfort in the workplace.”

Earlier this week, a New York lawmaker proposed a measure that would require hotels to provide housekeepers with an emergency “panic button” to help prevent sexual assaults by guests. The bill, under consideration in the New York State Assembly, calls for hotels to provide a small device for housekeepers that would, at the touch of a button, trigger an audible alarm or alert hotel security.