HOTEL BUSINESS REVIEW

December FOCUS: Hotel Law

 
December, 2021

Hotel Law: The Consequences of Covid-19


As might be expected, the Hotel Law profession is contending with all types of legal issues stemming from the effects of Covid-19. Nearly all hotel employers are being impacted, dealing with issues such as leaves of absence, workers' classification, discrimination disputes, arbitration agreements, and union relations. In addition, some hotels are being obligated to comply with new Covid-19 health and safety laws, pertaining to workplaces that pose a risk of "imminent hazard."  There are also legal issues surrounding workplace Covid testing, and quarantining and isolation requirements. Worker compensation issues are also a concern when employees may have contracted Covid at work. New laws are classifying these illnesses as "occupational injuries" and therefore eligible for benefits. Other non-Covid legal issues that are coming to the forefront  involve an uptick of lawsuits pertaining to the American Disabilities Act and, in some states, there has been an expansion of the Family Leave Act. These are just a few of the subjects that the December issue of the Hotel Business Review will address in the area of Hotel Law.  



This month's feature articles...

Megan Walker

With the ongoing worker shortage in the wake of the pandemic, many employers are opening up their application process to under-aged workers. This article lays out some key considerations to keep in mind in order to avoid legal violations associated with hiring minors in the workplace. READ MORE

Jerome G. Grzeca

While COVID-19 has adversely affected hospitality industry revenues due to a decrease in travel by potential customers, it has also affected hotels' ability to maintain an adequate work force. The H-2B program allowing U.S. employers to petition U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to hire foreign nationals for temporary non-agricultural jobs may enable hotels to address temporary staff shortages. READ MORE

Robert  O'Halloran

The lodging and hospitality industry and its owners and operators have a service orientation that demands constant interaction with guests, employees, vendors and those in the host communities where they operate. Lodging operators need to be aware and vigilant of the changing landscape of their legal environment due to COVID-19. READ MORE

John Mavros

Many hotel employers were forced to lay off staff when shelter-in-place orders grounded travel and tourism. Now hoteliers face a host of new legal obligations. In an effort to put laid off workers in the same position they were pre-pandemic, a number of municipalities and states have enacted "right to recall" laws that require that employers offer re-opened positions to previously laid off staff before hiring new employees. READ MORE

Michael Wildes

The Biden administration's rescission of a series of presidential proclamations that restricted international travel into the United States from multiple countries following the outbreak of COVID-19 will likely offer immediate benefits to hotels, restaurants, and the travel industry in general. After almost 18 months of closure, is America really open for business? READ MORE

Kenneth Rosen

The hospitality industry has been plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the pandemic continues to impact occupancy rates and conference bookings, hotels have a number of restructuring options available to avoid foreclosure. This article highlights the best practices for engaging with lenders to explore available restructuring options in the event of prolonged financial distress. READ MORE

Bob Butler

Even the smallest problem can snowball into a major disaster if no one speaks up about it. Rather than fostering a workplace where employees are afraid to mention issues they notice, savvy leaders are encouraging a speak-up culture that ensures the company can get ahead of problems. READ MORE

David Sherwyn

Should hospitality employers mandate COVID-19 vaccines as a condition of their employees' return to work? Rising above the political and social debates raging today in America, the authors of this article make a compelling case for hotel owners and operators to demonstrate leadership by requiring their employees to be vaccinated for the good of the hospitality industry and the Nation. We also provide a roadmap for the possible legal pitfalls. READ MORE

Paul Bond

In this article, Holland & Knight partner Paul Bond analyzes the likely real-world impact of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) on hotel operations. If adopted widely, guests will want top quality hotels to add an immersive, connected experience. Legal issues abound, alongside new opportunities for engagement with digital natives. READ MORE

Barry Shuster

If you thought labor issues in this environment couldn't be more difficult, enter the revised Department of Labor (DOL) "dual job" and "80/20" rules, which are effective December 31. They likely will create significant compliance challenges for businesses that take the tip credit. Many operators may have to decide whether to eliminate tipping, assign cleaning and side work to dedicated low-wage workers, or figure out how to track the time tipped staff spend on tasks that are not directly "tipped producing". READ MORE

Steven D. Weber

COVID-19 (coronavirus) will have a lasting impact on the hospitality industry. In some cases, coronavirus may alter language that hospitality actors utilize in contracts. Those contracts may need to be amended to reflect the impact of coronavirus or those contracts, as they stand, may be interpreted in light of coronavirus. One aspect of contracts that may be impacted by coronavirus is force majeure provisions within hotel management agreements. READ MORE

Ashley Halberda

With the ever-changing COVID-related laws, regulations and mandates, hotel employers are finding themselves in court defending COVID-related employment litigation claims. How can hotel employers stay in compliance and avoid a COVID-related lawsuit? READ MORE

Lonnie Giamela

One unforeseen consequence of the pandemic, particularly at hotels, is staffing shortages. These staffing shortages have resulted in hotels requesting existing exempt employees to take on more duties and responsibilities of non-exempt employees. Such efforts may backfire and put hotel employers at risk to wage-and-hour litigation. READ MORE

Jennifer Smith Thomas

With travelers returning to hotel destinations across the world, threats of COVID-19 contamination continue to expose the hospitality industry to various legal risks. With more than 2,000 COVID-related cases currently on file in the United States, the risk remains, especially in the areas of negligent exposure and labor and employment. This article will examine some of the increased legal risks to the hotel industry and some suggestions to mitigate or reduce exposure to COVID-19 related lawsuits. READ MORE

Doug Ramsthel

The hotel and hospitality industries were hard hit by the pandemic and one of the outcomes has been a reluctance for employees to return to work, exacerbated by a nationwide labor shortage. Workers desire higher wages and more benefits that meet their major life concerns including health and caregiver coverage. To remain competitive employers, hotels must meet these needs. READ MORE

Peter Dougherty

Holiday travel and dining is coming back in a big way creating an opportunity to capitalize on the rush. This rush comes with myriad challenges from enforcing vaccine mandates, labor and ingredient shortages and increased costs across the business. This article describes six technology-focused suggestions to keep your business booming through the holidays and well into 2022. READ MORE

Paul Payette

While business travel may never completely reach pre-pandemic levels due to the success of remote working, business travelers are slowly returning to in-person trade shows, client meetings and team gatherings in 2022. As hoteliers plan for this return, what can hotels do to welcome back these guests and improve their experiences? READ MORE

Janet Wright

2020 certainly served as a reminder that we must be prepared for the unexpected. In business, that means understanding what comes next should your business, or hotel in this case, face an unexpected interruption. A proactive approach, as opposed to a reactive approach, could be the key to getting back to business faster, keeping the hotel's reputation intact, and maintaining a healthy revenue stream. READ MORE

Susan Kuchta

In this article, Susan Kuchta,VP, Sales and Strategy at Prism Specialties, discusses how to find the right restoration partner for your hotel. She also details what are the steps you should take to ensure that the restoration partner you choose is reliable and able to fit your needs. From televisions to the lobby sculptures, Ms. Kuchta talks about the best way to restore your hotel's items, prepare your business before disaster strikes and get your hotel and lodging business back to work as soon as possible. READ MORE

Peter McAlpine

The hospitality industry has lost its way and nobody dares to point this out in articles or at hotel conferences. Hospitality is about unconditional love and the hospitality experience should radiate the energy and spirit of unconditional love, but hotel group executive boards continue to be blind to this. This article serves to cast light into the darkness. READ MORE

Coming up in February 2022...

Social Media: Essential Interaction


As important as social media has been to hotels as a way to engage guests and drive direct bookings, it is becoming even more essential for hotels to implement a comprehensive social media strategy. All the major platforms have users numbering in the hundreds of millions - and in some cases, billions of users - so it is imperative for hotels to have an established presence on those massive channels. The goals of social media outreach are relatively clear-cut - identify and interact with current and prospective guests; create a brand voice that resonates with your target demographic; promote products, services, special offers, and contests; and acquire market data to support your business analytics. This is accomplished by creating imaginative and shareable content in order to give your brand maximum visibility, generate bookings, and keep guests interacting with your business throughout the entire customer journey. The February Hotel Business Review will document how some hotels are successfully executing social media strategies for the benefit of their operations.