Library Archives

 
Travis Crabtree

At the beginning of 2020, the accommodations industry had been experiencing steady growth for a couple of years. However, with the introduction of COVID-19 there has been a very clear slowdown. Some hotels have been forced to cease operation while others have cut down significantly on staff. Whatever the case may be, there are still a few things those in the industry can be doing. Hotels can take cues from those who survived the 2008 recession, take time to create a response plan in the event this happens in the future and plenty more. This article will provide tips about what you can be doing now in the face of COVID-19. READ MORE

Christine Samsel

Christine Samsel, a shareholder, and Jesse Sutz, an associate with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, provide "tools of the trade" to assist employers in crafting legally compliant business expense reimbursement policies. While many states have no specific requirements and default to federal law standards, the article outlines the more stringent requirements in various states including California, Illinois, New York and Massachusetts. The article dives into remote work considerations, especially now with the COVID-19 epidemic and how employers must pay particular attention to expense reimbursement requirements for remote workers. The article also discusses risk for employers and tips to avoid liability. Read more… READ MORE

Rebecca King

In 2019, two California appellate courts issued separate decisions regarding employee on-duty meal periods that could greatly impact hotel operations in the Golden State. The Naranjo decision covered the specificity of on-duty meal period agreements and "substantial compliance" with the controlling state law, while the Ferra decision considered how to calculate the hour of premium pay owed to employees when employers fail to provide a compliant meal or rest period. Given these decisions, it is important for California hotel employers to understand these cases, their respective impacts and how they can be sure to comply with the new changes in law. READ MORE

Christine Samsel

Many employers are implementing or expanding paid parental leave policies. Christine Samsel, shareholder at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, reviews the challenges of implementing and administering such policies, from avoiding discrimination and gender stereotyping to differentiating between pregnancy/childbirth-related medical leave, on the one hand, and baby bonding and parental leave, on the other hand. Her article also provides recommendations for employers on considerations in auditing or expanding existing leave policies. Read more… READ MORE

Dana Kravetz

Along with real property, equipment, furniture, fixtures and inventory is an oftentimes overlooked asset class: your hotel's intellectual property. No less valuable than these more tangible assets, your IP-brand name, proprietary systems, trade dress and unique designs, to name a few-has untold economic value that serves as a safeguard against infringement, increases the worth of your business, and can be exploited if and when you seek to sell, in whole or in part. But this is only true if your IP portfolio is properly protected by way of trademarks, copyrights and patents, depending, of course, on the particularities and nature of the IP in question. Intrigued? Read on. READ MORE

John Mavros

Currently, thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have passed laws legalizing marijuana in some form. Many other states are projected to follow suit. Under federal law, however, marijuana remains illegal as a Schedule I drug pursuant to the Controlled Substances Act. The ever-changing landscape on legalized marijuana makes it difficult for hotel employers to comply with both state and federal law and caused many to question whether their policies and practices should be revised. This article discusses the potential pros and cons of including marijuana in a zero tolerance alcohol and drug policy. READ MORE

Lindsay Ayers

Last year alone, many well-known hospitality companies across the country paid multi-millions as a result of wrongful termination claims filed against them. Why is this? How can hotels and restaurants in the hospitality field ensure they are following recent and ever-changing laws and educating management and subordinate employees on the hotel's policies that comply with these laws? This article shares tips to help guide hotels in taking the proper steps before terminating an employee. READ MORE

Dana Kravetz

Legislation is being passed worldwide that seeks to protect consumer privacy; most notably, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Hoteliers, these laws may well apply to you, even if you don't have any properties located in the Golden State or EU. Long story short, for those in the hospitality space, If your bookings include CA or EU resident, you must be mindful of how guests' personal information and data are collected, processed, shared and retained, and poised to implement comprehensive data privacy programs at an organization-wide level to ensure legal compliance. As for the latter, if you haven't done so already, the time is now. READ MORE

Steven D. Weber

Interests in the hotel industry are bought and sold. Contracts in furtherance of the sale of those interests may contain restrictive covenants. In some cases, restrictive covenants might take the form of contractual provisions that, among other things, restrict competition from a new owner or prevent certain uses. Use of a restrictive covenant may lead to litigation when one party contends that another party is in violation of a restrictive covenant. Hospitality industry players should be aware of the risks associated with restrictive covenants, and aware of the hospitality-related litigation that can result from them. READ MORE

John Mavros

Regardless of the number of employment law best practices a hotel successfully embraces, one factor can be a strong indicator for future litigation – a problematic, underperforming employee. Therefore, one the best ways to protect your hotel from litigation is to hire right at the outset. In the chaos of peak season, it may be tempting to impulsively hire the first application for help received; however, hiring is a process that should not be rushed. An employee who fails to meet performance expectations or mesh with the hotel's company culture, not only can create a toxic environment at work for other employees but will likely harbor resentment which frequently motivates litigation. READ MORE

Dana Kravetz

Way back when, on June 10, 1963, then-President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law – a bold piece of legislation that amended the Fair Labor Standards Act and requires that men and women be given equal pay for equal work within the same establishment. Fast-forward fifty-plus years, and it's apparent that work remains to be done. Today, females in the workplace earn 80% less than white men, with women of color faring much worse. And while the hospitality industry performs better than the national average in terms of the gender pay gap, disparities remain that must be stamped out once and for all. READ MORE

John Mavros

Many turn to Starbucks for a caffeinated wakeup call every morning. However, given a recent court ruling, Starbucks now serves as a wakeup call for employers who need to improve their timekeeping practices. This article examines the landmark California Supreme Court decision in Troester v. Starbucks, which illustrates just how important it is to capture every minute that an employee works - even time that seems short and trivial, or also known as "de minimis." This article will explore the lessons learned from Starbucks and further outline best timekeeping practices that all hotels should consider implementing to avoid an employment wage-hour lawsuit. READ MORE

Steven D. Weber

A trademark can be a recognizable sign or design that defines a brand. Protecting that trademark can be crucial to a hospitality player attracting guests and maintaining a competitive edge. A hospitality player's success may lead to imitation from competitors. That imitation may lead to infringement of a hospitality player's trademark. Protecting any trademark should be a priority for hospitality players. Failing to protect a trademark can lead to waiving rights and claims that a hospitality player may use to enforce its trademark rights. Hospitality players should seek to understand whether any threats exist to their trademark rights and take appropriate action in response to those threats. READ MORE

John Mavros

Hotel Managers are on the frontlines of preventing harassment, discrimination, and retaliation from occurring in the workplace. They are in the best position to spot warning signs that harassment may be occurring and they are most likely to be the first person an employee confides in with a complaint. As such, it is important that managers are equipped to stop harassment and any future harassment lawsuits in their tracks. This article details a "5 Step Plan for Managers" in the midst of the growing #MeToo movement to help them foster harassment free workplaces. READ MORE

Steven D. Weber

In the hospitality industry it is crucial to have the right employees. The right employees may enable a hospitality player to provide an ideal environment for its customers that may leave a lasting impression that will lead to future business. To retain employees, hospitality players may consider entering into a no-poach agreement. A no-poach agreement between hospitality players may be, among other things, an agreement that two players agree not to hire employees from each other. Such agreements may be unlawful, and hospitality players should be wary of them and consult with legal counsel before entering into them. READ MORE

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Coming up in August 2020...

Food & Beverage: New Technological Innovations

In the past few years, hotel food and beverage departments have experienced significant growth. Managers are realizing just how much revenue potential this sector holds, both in terms of additional revenue and as a means to enhance the guest experience. As a result, substantial investments are being made in F&B operations as a way to satisfy hotel guests but also to keep pace with the competition. Though it has been a trend for many years, the Farm-to-Table movement shows no signs of abating. Hotel chains are abandoning corporate restaurants and are instead partnering with local chefs to create locally-influenced dining options. Local, farm-sourced ingredients paired with specialty beverages or local wine also satisfies the increasing demand from Millennial travelers who are eager to travel sustainably and contribute to a positive impact. A farm-to-table F&B program also helps to support the local economy, which builds community goodwill. Also popular are "Self-Serv" and "Grab & Go" options. These concepts stem from an awareness that a guest's time is limited and if a hotel can supply them with fast, fresh, food and beverage choices, then so much the better for them. Plus, by placing these specialty kiosks in areas that might be traditionally under-utilized (the lobby, for instance), they can become popular destination locations. Of course, there are new technological innovations as well. In-room, on-screen menus allow guests to order from any restaurant on the property, and some hotels are partnering with delivery companies that make it possible for guests to order food from any restaurant in the area. Also, many hotels are implementing in-room, voice-activated devices, so ordering food via an AI-powered assistant will soon become mainstream as well. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these developments and document what some leading hotels are doing to expand this area of their business.