Workers at Terranea Resort and Trump golf club want ‘panic buttons’ in case of sexual assaults

A woman relaxes by the fire pit overlooking the swimming pool and ocean at the Terranea resort in Rancho Palos Verdes. A proposed ordinance would require the hotel and a nearby golf club to provide "panic buttons" to address sexual assaults and other emergencies.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Hospitality workers in Rancho Palos Verdes are proposing an ordinance to require the exclusive Terranea Resort and nearby Trump National Golf Club to supply employees with “panic buttons” to alert authorities in the case of a sexual assault.

A union representing hospitality workers said filed paperwork with the Rancho Palos Verdes city clerk Tuesday, seeking to put the measure on the November ballot. Once the paperwork is approved, Unite Here, Local 11, will have 90 days to collect about 4,000 signatures to put the measure on the ballot.

The proposed ordinance is written to single out Trump National Golf Club and Terranea, which is the only hotel in the city that meets the measure’s description of having at least 50 employees.


The ritzy resort on the shore of the Palos Verdes Peninsula was targeted by the union because Sandra Pezqueda, a former Terranea Resort worker, said she was fired in 2016 after complaining about the sexual advances of her supervisor.

Pezqueda, who filed a lawsuit against her former employer, was among several women named “Persons of the Year” by Time magazine last year for launching the #MeToo movement. The lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial in June.

In a statement, Pezqueda said, “I don’t want anyone else in this city to go through what I went through, so I am hopeful that voters will pass this measure into law.”

The union said Trump’s club was included because of previous harassment allegations made by several women against Donald Trump, before he was president.

A Terranea representative said the resort hasn’t seen the proposed ordinance but added that workers already have the ability to alert security officials in the case of emergencies. In a statement, the resort added that “Terranea is in the process of assigning new personal panic buttons to associates throughout the resort as a further safeguard.”

Maria Elena Durazo, general vice president of Unite Here International, said she hopes the ordinance “gives those workers the tools to protect themselves and each other.”


The ordinance also would require the hotel to pay an hourly wage of at least $15, starting Jan. 1, 2019, and ensure that workers are not forced to work shifts of more than 10 hours, except in emergency situations and only with the consent of the workers. The average hourly salary for Terranea workers is $15.50, but lower for many, the union said.

The ordinance also would call on the resort to provide access to a vanpool, private bus or passes for mass transit to help employees get to work.

Workers at Terranea Resort sued the ritzy hotel in October, contending they aren’t paid for the time they spend waiting to get uniforms before each shift and being driven on a bus from a remote parking lot.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, names two workers as plaintiffs. But if approved by the court, the complaint could become a class-action suit, representing about 600 employees at the resort.

To read more about the travel and tourism industries, follow @hugomartin on Twitter.



5:30 p.m.: This article was updated to reflect that the union plans to file the paperwork Tuesday. The filing was delayed a day.

This article was originally published at 4:30 p.m.