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Nassau County May Become First In Nation To Make Background Checks Of Hotel/Motel Workers Mandatory

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Did you know background checks are not required on hotel workers who have access to your hotel room?

Lawmakers on Long Island want to change that, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported Thursday.

Luxury hotels like the Garden City Hotel and most major chains already do criminal background checks for employees who will have access to guest rooms, but it it voluntary.

Garden City Hotel
(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Some seemed surprised to know there are no laws on the books requiring them. Nassau County could become the first in the nation to mandate criminal background checks if this new proposal is passed.

"That could be anyone at a front desk, anyone that would have the ability to actually generate the card that would go into the rooms, Nassau County Legislature Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams said. "What we've found, and seen across the country, is cases where people, individuals, that have put their trust in hotel/motel operators have been sexually assaulted, have lost their valuables.

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When asked if he was surprised, Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said, "Yeah, you would, because most major industries, the big-big business, they should know who their employees are. They should know who they hire. Why would you hire somebody that has a sexual predator background and give them access to people's rooms?"

Cynthia Scott of The Safe Center LI said her organization is totally in favor of making the background checks mandatory.

"From a victim's perspective, anything that we can do to reduce the likelihood that somebody's going to be hurt or traumatized is important to us," Scott said.

But there could be push-back. The Equal Employment Opportunity Council and civil liberties groups call it illegal to bar employment based on the mere fact that an individual has a conviction record.

But Nassau resident Gayle Benjamin speaks for many.

"It's good for business. Anyone who checks in wants to know that they are checking in and that they'll be safe at all times," Benjamin said.

Currently Florida, Pennsylvania and Arizona are considering similar legislation, following the rapes of several women by front desk clerks who were convicted sex offenders.


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