Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Jacobs

Heather Jacobs

VP Human Resources Europe/Middle East/ Africa, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts

Heather Jacobs first started with Four Seasons by working summers - initially as a Front Office Intern in 1992 at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago and then as Hostess in 1993 at the Four Seasons Los Angeles. She began her career in earnest as a Manager In Training in 1994 in the Rooms Division of the Ritz-Carlton Chicago (a Four Seasons Hotel). She then made her way to Human Resources via Housekeeping and the Front Office, and was appointed Human Resources Manager in 1995. In November 1996, Ms. Jacobs relocated to The Pierre Hotel (then a Four Seasons Hotel), starting as Employee Relations & Benefits Manager, Assistant Director and then, Director of Human Resources in October 1998. Interested in the global aspects of Human Resources, Heather was promoted to Director of Human Resources Administration in January 2000, helping develop and implement global Human Resources policies, procedures and competitive practices. She has helped to shepherd the employment brand and has instilled the Four Seasons culture into our international portfolio, all with an eye to aligning HR practices with the global business strategies of the company. In June 2004, Ms. Jacobs and her family relocated to Geneva, Switzerland as Area Director of Human Resources for Europe, the Middle East and Africa where she tackled the complex issues of new development, pre-opening assistance, and general Human Resources responsibilities. Ms. Jacobs was promoted to Vice President in July 2007. In her current role, she assists in the selection and development of Senior leaders for the region and leads the Human Resources professionals in 30 properties, spanning over 20 countries with responsibility for more than 10,000 employees. In this role she has responsibility for the development and implementation of Human Resources policy, process and procedure including recruitment, selection, retention, learning and development, legal compliance, employee benefits, employee relations, employment practices and procedures, and employee communications. Ms. Jacobs holds a BS, Hotel Management, Cornell University, 1994. She is a Certified Global Professional in Human Resources (“GPHR”) - 2006, and active with the International Tourism Partnership, acting as Chair of Executive Committee 2012-2014. She has been on the Executive Committee since 2005 (leading hospitality companies dedicated to environmental and social responsibility in the industry).

Ms. Jacobs can be contacted at 41227078274 or heather.jacobs@fourseasons.com

Coming up in December 2020...

Hotel Law: Protecting Guest Privacy

Every business is obligated to protect their customers from identity theft but unfortunately, data breaches have become all too common. In an effort to protect a guest's right to privacy and to safeguard their personal data, the European Union passed a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that could hold hotels legally liable for any breaches that expose a customer's sensitive personal information. Though the GDPR only pertains to EU citizens' data, any international business that mishandles their data can be legally responsible. Another legal issue of concern is the fight involving hotel "resort fees." Several states attorney generals have recently filed suit against two major hotel chains in an effort to litigate this practice. Their suit alleges that these companies are "engaged in deceptive and misleading pricing practices and their failure to disclose fees is in violation of consumer protection laws." The suit seeks to force the hotel chains to advertise the true price of their hotel rooms. There are several other legal issues that the industry is being forced to address. Sexual harassment prevention in the workplace is still top of mind for hotel employers-particularly in New York and California, which now statutorily require harassment training. Hotels and motels in California will also soon be required to train all their employees on human trafficking awareness. Immigration issues are also of major concern to hotel employers, especially in the midst of a severe labor shortage. The government is issuing fewer H2B visas for low-skilled workers, as well as J-1 visas for temporary workers. Though there is little hope for any comprehensive immigration reform, hotel lobbying groups are actively seeking legal remedies to alleviate this problem. These are just a few of the critical issues that the December issue of the Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.