Hotel quarantine guards accused of sexual harassment: 16 women claim security staff made unwanted advances during £1,750 stays including worker leaving flirty note to ‘fit’ guest and another sending Facebook messages
- A total of 16 women have reported sexual harassment claims to the BBC
- Woman said guard knocked on her door and sent her a note saying she was ‘fit’
- Another said she received a Facebook message saying ‘This evening I’ll come’
- Department of Health said new measures would be introduced to protect guests
Lone women in UK quarantine hotels will now have female guards after 16 former guests came forward to report sexual harassment allegations against security staff, including a male guard miming having sex in a lift and another asking for a hug.
One woman said a guard repeatedly knocked on her door and sent her a note saying she was ‘fit’, while another said she received a Facebook message from a G4S employee saying ‘This evening I’ll come’.
In cases were no female guards are available, women should be escorted by two male attendants when moving around the hotel during their £1,750 stay, the Department of Health and Social care announced.
One female guest at a quarantine hotel said a guard repeatedly knocked on her door and sent her a note saying she was ‘fit’. File pic
Brittany Dodds, 26, told the BBC she received a flood of 13 Facebook messages from the G4S guard on the second day of her quarantine in Heathrow’s Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel in May.
The South African lawyer ignored the messages, but on the fourth day received another saying, ‘This evening I’ll come.’ She said she barricaded her door with bags as he repeatedly knocked on the door.
The next day, Ms Dodds asked a different guard to escort her back to her door. She said the first one seemed offended and knocked again on her door to complain.
‘At this point I was shaking and had no words because I knew that he was now following me,’ she said.
Ms Dodds said she reported the incident to Edwardian hotels’ head of security but was asked why she had not reported it at the time. She said she contacted G4S but never got a reply.
Ms Dodds was later told by DHSC that the guard had been dismissed, but was told that the messages contained ‘nothing of a sexual nature’, and again informed that she could have reported the guard at the time.
A mock-up of Facebook messages South African lawyer Brittany Dodds, 26, said a guard sent her
The lawyer said the message made her ‘feel sick’ and was further evidence of ‘victim blaming’.
Sarah, a 23-year-old medical student from Manchester, said she was subjected to a terrifying encounter at the Radisson Red Heathrow in April.
Mandatory hotel quarantine: What travellers from ‘red list’ countries face when arriving in the UK
Travellers who come to the UK from ‘red list’ countries must quarantine in a hotel for 10 days and take multiple tests
Mandatory hotel quarantines were introduced for international passengers arriving from ‘red list’ countries on February 15.
This includes high Covid risk countries such as Brazil, Dubai, Portugal and South Africa.
The system was introduced in reaction to new variants of Covid that were seen in places such as Brazil and South Africa.
Travellers must spend ten days in quarantine at their own cost if they return to the UK on direct flights from any of ‘red list’ locations.
This costs a total of £1,750 for travellers.
They must also take a coronavirus test on or before day two and day eight of quarantining, according to the government guidelines.
Travellers are not allowed to shorten theor quarantine period if you receive a negative test result, but delays to testing kits and results could mean they face longer in quarantine.
The government website states: ‘If you receive a positive result from your day-2 test, you must continue your quarantine period restarting the 10 days beginning the day after the test was taken.’
Anyone caught breaking the quarantine rules faces a penalty of up to £10,000.
She said a guard who was meant to be taking her on an exercise break grabbed her arm and asked if she had a boyfriend before showing her to a group of his colleagues who laughed at her.
Sarah, who did not give her second name, supported the idea of having more female guards but said having two male guards on duty at one time could ‘increase the possible risk’.
Alice, a 20-year-old teaching assistant who did not give her second name, said she was walking past the Pentahotel in Reading on June 3 when guards standing outside started wolf-whistling and cat-calling her.
DHSC said the idea behind the approach to have ‘each guard chaperoning the other to ensure appropriate behaviour’.
A government spokesman said: ‘Sexual harassment and abuse are abhorrent – and all allegations of this are taken extremely seriously. We are doing our upmost to ensure every person in managed quarantine gets the support they need and we’re urgently working to investigate complaints of this nature.
‘We expect hotels to do everything they can to keep people safe and to address concerns raised by guests, as well as raising with us where needed.
‘We will not hesitate to take immediate action to suspend staff where appropriate and report to the police if necessary.’
Radisson said: ‘The safety and security of our guests and staff is of the utmost importance for Radisson Hotel Group so we are taking these allegations very seriously.’
G4S said: ‘G4S expects its employees to treat all people with respect and has a zero tolerance approach to any behaviour which fails to meet this standard.
‘It is imperative that women who are required to quarantine in UK hotels feel safe and secure at all times. To provide additional assurance we have enhanced training, supervision and operational and safeguarding procedures.
‘We have also established an oversight body comprising of women in senior executive roles. The proportion of women to men in security officer roles at quarantine hotels is typical of the UK security industry and we are working to attract more women to the role.’
Referring to the allegations, the spokesman added: ‘We treat all complaints extremely seriously, report these promptly, support the Department of Health and Social Care to conduct rigorous investigations in all cases and take appropriate action if the conduct of any security officer falls below the required standard.’
Alice, a 20-year-old teaching assistant, said she was walking past the Pentahotel in Reading on June 3 when G4S guards standing outside started wolf-whistling her
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