Library Archives

 
Ashley Halberda

In light of the "Me Too" and "Times Up" movement, recently passed County Hotel Worker Protection Act of 2018 will be requiring hotels to develop, maintain, and comply with new sexual harassment policies. With this new industry-wide pledge, hotel leaders agreed to enforce stronger safety and security measures for hotel employees. One of the ways they plan to carry this mission is through the use of safety devices known as "panic buttons." These new laws and regulations come at a pretty steep price to hotel employers, we want you to know what you can do to ensure you're protected. Read on...

Dana Kravetz

Hotel and resorts are jumping on the gig economy bandwagon, satisfying their short-term employment needs by (literally) tapping into the ever-growing pool of freelance hospitality workers available via app or online. But as more and more hoteliers avail themselves to the flexibility and considerable costs savings that are part and parcel to the on-demand staffing model, they are wading into potentially perilous waters, with legal and reputational issues lurking just below the surface. Here, a light is shined on would-be problems inherent in the gig economy that management should be mindful of. Read on...

John R. Hunt

In recent years, employers in the hospitality industry have faced an onslaught of claims and litigation under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal law that establishes minimum wage and overtime requirements. Among the kinds of cases that employers have confronted are those alleging violations of the Department of Labor's "80/20" rule for tipped employees. This "rule" provided that an employer could not take a "tip credit" where a tipped employee spent over 20 percent of his or her time on activities that did not directly generate tips. The following discusses the rule and the significant changes made by the DOL. Read on...

Todd Soloway

Corporate M&A activity has skyrocketed in recent years. By some estimates, global deals are projected to surpass $4 trillion by the end of 2018, which would be the highest amount ever recorded in a single year. The hospitality industry has seen a similar surge in mega-deals over the last several years. While economic factors have contributed to this rise, hospitality has also been shaped by industry-specific influences that are driving companies to acquire and consolidate with others. This article will examine common legal issues that arise during M&A transactions involving hospitality companies and will offer guidance on how both sides of a deal should address the risks and liabilities. Read on...

John Mavros

Hotels go to great lengths to present a carefully crafted image to their guests and, hotel employees play an integral role in making a mere marketing strategy become a revenue generating reality. One way to ensure that employees effectively communicate the hotel's desired image can be accomplished by a written dress code and personal appearance policy. This policy can be as detailed as management desires. Regardless, to avoid liability, hotels need to be aware of both state and federal laws that govern gender, gender identity, gender expression and religious expression, in the workplace and how those laws interact with their dress code policy. Read on...

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 on...

Christine Samsel

The past twelve months have seen a significant uptick in the volume of cases filed related to website accessibility issues, with the most recent trend being claims by disabled prospective employees for inaccessible online job search and application processes that allegedly render them unable to browse and apply for open positions. Attorneys Christine Samsel and Jonathan Sandler provide legal insight on this trend and what business leaders can do to protect their company from these types of claims… Read on...

Luna Phillips

As fresh water supplies across the country stretch thinner due to a confluence of factors, hotel developers and managers are getting squeezed. An increasing focus on water conservation from consumers and both state and local regulators has its benefits, but also creates economic drawbacks for hotel executives by decreasing the supply and increasing the price of water. This added cost raises the price of admission for both owners and consumers, but armed with the correct information and tactics, hotel executives can shrewdly save valuable dollars while playing by these new rules. Read on...

Dana Kravetz

Hoteliers in the Golden State better pay heed to a recent decision by the California Supreme Court and think twice before neglecting to pay workers for routine, albeit trivial, duties that are handled off the clock. The ruling in Troester v. Starbucks Corporation severely limits a hotel or resort operator's ability to rely on the so-called "de minimis defense," an argument that California employers have, for years, successfully asserted in wage and hour litigation brought by employees seeking compensation for brief tasks undertaken pre- or post-shift. As the author explains, hospitality employers, in the wake of Troester, are encouraged to leverage available technology to capture all of the time their employees actually work on any given day. Read on...

John Mavros

This article discusses the top five ways hotels get served with disability discrimination lawsuits. Disability discrimination lawsuits are on the rise and one of the best ways to protect your hotel from getting served with a lawsuit is to assure that hoteliers fully understand obligations under the various leave laws and that their managers are trained properly on those obligations. Maintaining written policies, memorializing any verbal communications with employees, documenting analyses of possible accommodations, and recording any accommodations or leaves of absences ultimately provided are essential steps for avoiding costly litigation. Read on...

Steven D. Weber

Some people say that there is no such thing as bad press. However, in some cases, bad press could potentially damage a brand and continue damaging a brand now that information available on the internet may never be erased – or forgotten. A hospitality player’s response to bad press should include formulating a plan beforehand so that a hospitality player may respond to bad press in an organized manner. Once any bad press is discovered, the next step may be determining how best to respond. Certain bad press may be actionable to the extent that a hospitality player may seek relief from it through a lawsuit. Read on...

Christine Samsel

Looking to renovate? Make sure you consider the ADA when doing so. In this article, Christine Samsel, Jonathan Sandler and Allison Gambill of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck walk through ADA compliance considerations for renovations. They provide guidance on how to determine which Title III ADA standards apply to which portions of your facility, including how renovations may impact compliance requirements and common ADA compliance problem areas. This article builds upon their prior articles related to (among other things) website accessibility issues, including guidelines for making your website reservation system accessible to the disabled. Read on...

Dana Kravetz

Airbnb, thought by some to pose an existential threat to hotels and resorts, continues to compete with them for market share. That being said, the off-the-charts growth that the short-term rental company experienced in years past seems to have leveled off, and it looks as though mainstream lodging has weathered the Airbnb storm. But how? With an eye toward an ever-expanding network of regulations, both here and abroad, that not only limit Airbnb’s inventory, but also hold its hosts accountable to hotel-like standards, hoteliers have staved off their (exaggerated) demise. In doing so, hotels and resorts have emerged stronger and more innovative than ever. Read on...

Bruce Liebman

Most of the projected growth in the Caribbean region is expected to come from foreign visitor spending and the United States has remained the most important supplier of tourists to the Caribbean region. However, what happens when these foreign visitors return to the United States and bring lawsuits against the resort in their home states? Defending lawsuits throughout the 50 states is financially and logistically burdensome. This article offers best practices for hotels in the Caribbean to protect themselves from claims brought in the US, preemptive measures and how to get the lawsuits moved to their home turf. Read on...

John Mavros

Wage and hour class actions are one of the biggest financial risks to employers. They can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees and could require a multimillion dollar settlement. Employers should protect themselves from this risk by complying with federal and state wage and hour laws. However, the recent US Supreme Court decision in Epic Systems gives employers another critical line of protection: an arbitration agreement with a class action waiver. The Supreme Court affirmed that class action waivers are enforceable and do not violate the National Labor Relations Act. What is a class action waiver and how can your hotel capitalize on this ruling? Read on...

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Coming up in April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.