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New Jersey requires hotels to provide 'panic buttons' for cleaners

New Jersey on Tuesday became the first state to mandate that hotels provide their room cleaners with wearable "panic buttons." The devices, which call for help, aim to protect workers from sexual harassment and other dangers.

In September, major hotel brands -- including Marriott, Hilton, and Hyatt -- agreed to provide the buttons to their employees after hotel workers with the union Unite Here held protests across the country calling for panic buttons and other safety measures.

The law applies to hotels with 100 rooms or more, which includes all nine casino hotels in Atlantic City, and will take effect in January.

Local governments have begun taken to passing worker-protection laws where the federal government has not. In January, New Jersey said it would raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024. Last year, New Jersey's earned sick leave law went into effect, mandating paid sick days. Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, legislators have passed laws like "Fair Workweek" scheduling for service workers and "just-cause" prevention of unfair firings for parking lot workers.

--The Philadelphia Inquirer

 

California man imprisoned in Vietnam to go on trial in late June

LOS ANGELES -- An Orange County man imprisoned in Vietnam for more than 11 months is set to go on trial in late June, without access to legal counsel since his arrest, family members say.

Vietnamese authorities have been investigating Michael Phuong Minh Nguyen, a father of four from Orange, for "actions" to overthrow the government, according to Mark Roberts, his brother-in-law. He said he expects government officials will appoint a lawyer for Nguyen for the trial, which is expected to start on June 24.

Nguyen "is severely disadvantaged and unable to properly defend against any accusations" because "he and his family have not even been formally advised of the actual charges or accusations against him," Roberts said. "He has also been denied the time to properly address any alleged claims against him."

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