Seven workers at the Embassy Suites hotel in Irvine have filed a complaint with Cal/OSHA against the parent company, HEI Hotels and Resorts, about the hotel’s so-called safety program. These workers, who are currently in an organizing campaign with UNITE HERE Local 11, say that this program discourages workers from reporting injuries on the job to reach the goal of an “accident-free workplace.”
Now Cal/OSHA is investigating HEI’s “Safety Bingo” program, which offers up to $25,000 or a new car as the grand prize. “Safety Bingo” promotes a blame-the-worker mentality instead of addressing the real hazards that exist.
“They could be using that prize money instead to fix the hazards and protect workers from getting injured in the first place,” says Andrea Nicholls, Health and Safety Coordinator at the L.A. County Federation of Labor, who is assisting the workers throughout the investigation.
This case, if successful, will set a new precedent in California in combatting employer programs that appear to prevent accidents, but have real detrimental effects on workers’ health and safety.