Library Archives

 
John E. Thompson

A leading source of employment law liability today flows from failing to comply with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the wage-hour law of broadest application. The number of FLSA lawsuits and U.S. Labor Department investigations has skyrocketed. Court complaints alone total in the tens of thousands over the last decade, and the most-recent reporting year's tally of more than 8,000 new FLSA lawsuits - nearly a 5 percent increase - has continued this trend. Furthermore, since at least 2010, the Labor Department has viewed hotels, resorts and other lodging establishments as presenting a high risk for FLSA violations. It is therefore more likely than ever that an industry employer will face wage-hour claims. Read on...

Kathleen Pohlid

Record keeping did not make OSHA's Top Ten list of most frequently cited violations in 2013, nor in 2012. However, when the proposed record keeping changes go into effect, establishments will have significant incentive to ensure they are complying with OSHA recordkeeping rules and maintaining a safe workplace. Record keeping information provides an important safety and health summary for establishments, alerting them as to potential serious problems and serving as an opportunity to identify potential violations for correction before OSHA arrives and which may lead to other injuries, or worse, fatalities. Soon this information will be available to the public. Read on...

John Mavros

Have you ever scheduled an early-shift employee to cover for a late-shift employee who has just taken medical leave? The covering employee probably was not excited to have to work that extra shift. While the logistics of employee schedules can be difficult, it can be even more burdensome (and more important) to handle the employee's medical leave appropriately and in accordance with the law. What do hospitality employers need to be mindful of when an employee takes a medical leave? This article discusses some of the strategies and principles that employers can use when medical leave issues arise. Read on...

Kathleen Pohlid

The prevalence of workplace violence poses alarming concerns. Consider the statistics: OSHA reports nearly 2 million workers annually claim they are victims of workplace violence, with homicides as the fourth-leading cause of workplace fatalities and the leading cause of death for women in the workplace; Justice Department statistics show non-fatal incidents are even far more prevalent with approximately 1.7 million workplace violence incidents between 1993-1999; and in a 2012 survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 36% of the entities responding experienced incidents of workplace violence. The good news is there are measures to curb these risks. Read on...

Marc Stephen Shuster

The scope of gaming's impact on the hotel industry depends upon whom you ask. If you're a mom and pop independent, a small franchisee, or you operate Disney (or another company where gaming can have a negative impact on your bottom line), you would most likely conclude that casinos are threats and/or competitors. That potentially includes competition for clientele, direct revenue, and indirect revenue. As you'll read in our expert panelists' comments, for example, lost convention revenue is a significant piece of this equation. Read on...

Matthew Grosack

Given the current state of the economy and the need for both hotel franchisors and franchisee owners to protect their respective interests and maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace, one of the most active areas in hospitality industry today is the enforcement of restrictive covenants. A restrictive covenant is a contractual provision entered into between contracting parties that prevents one or both parties from engaging in certain conduct during and after the business relationship Read on...

Matthew Simpson

Nearly every employer has enforced written policies regulating conduct at the workplace. However, few have taken the time to think about effective and lawful policies that regulate employee behavior after hours and outside the workplace. Today, in the age of social media and smartphones, employees have much greater visibility when they leave work, resulting in increased exposure and potential for harm to an employer's reputation. So, can employers monitor or discipline employees for policy violations that occur when an employee is off-duty and off-premises? Read on...

Lonnie Giamela

Employers in hospitality have the difficult task of balancing public perception and guest expectations with their many legal obligations. Developments in technology often complicate those responsibilities. Online bookings have created new ADA obligations. Social networking has blurred the lines between an employee's workplace conduct and private conduct. Now, the e-cigarette has become a focal point of the public discussion raising important questions for hospitality employers. Read on...

Kathleen Pohlid

The prevalence of workplace violence poses alarming concerns. Consider the statistics: OSHA reports nearly 2 million workers annually claim they are victims of workplace violence, with homicides as the fourth-leading cause of workplace fatalities and the leading cause of death for women in the workplace; Justice Department statistics show non-fatal incidents are even far more prevalent with approximately 1.7 million workplace violence incidents between 1993-1999; and in a 2012 survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 36% of the entities responding experienced incidents of workplace violence. The good news is there are measures to curb these risks. Read on...

Marc Stephen Shuster

Given the strength of the hospitality sector today, many hotel owners and developers are starting to see the value of their assets start to increase. Just as values are beginning to appreciate, however, numerous developers, who previously financed their projects through Commercial Mortgage-Backed Security ("CMBS") loans will likely be facing a significant dilemma as those loans mature over the coming years. The pundits say that we will see a wave of CMBS loan maturities in the next 2 to 5 years. With many of these loans having been originated prior to the real-estate bubble bursting, however, many will not qualify for refinancing due to the decline in the value of the collateral securing the loan. The authors discuss this impending dilemma, and the options that should be considered by borrowers that find themselves unable to refinance. Read on...

Kathleen Pohlid

The decision whether or not to conduct background checks on prospective employees presents liability issues for establishments. Failure to conduct background checks for employees who have frequent contact with the public poses potential liability for negligent hiring. However, use of background checks to screen applicants for employment may also pose a risk for potential charges of discrimination and unlawful employment practices. Additionally, establishments must comply with federal and state laws when conducting background checks. This article will discuss these issues and provide best practices for establishments in determining when to use background checks and policies for conducting them. Read on...

Julian Gurule

When a hotel enters financial distress, the prospect that the owner may become personally liable for the property's debts is often a source of substantial concern. This article addresses one potential source of exposure for a hotel's owner: nonrecourse carve-out guaranties, often referred to as "bad boy guaranties." In some circumstances, a nonrecourse carve-out guaranty can result in liability for the hotel's owner up to the full amount of the hotel's debt. Read on...

Michael Elkon

Restrictive covenant agreements can be a powerful tool for a company that wants to protect its most valuable information and relationships. However, there are major state law variations that impact what an employer can do with these contracts. Additionally, an employer needs to take a hard look at both the interests that it is trying to protect and the employees who will be signing the agreements before rolling them out. If answered honestly and accurately, a simple question should guide the process: What can this employee do to harm my business if he/she chooses to join a competitor? Read on...

Jim Butler

A lot of exciting things are happening in the hospitality industry as 2014 opens. Based upon more than $68 billion of hotel transactions, JMBM's Global Hospitality Group® has made its "top 10" pick of the events, issues, trends, and developments that will have the biggest impact on the hotel industry. Read on...

Marc Stephen Shuster

For the past decade, it seems like whenever there is a glaring need (or desire) in a particular city, some establishment "pops up" to temporarily meet that need. We've seen Pop-Up Restaurants, Pop-Up Hair Salons, Food Trucks, and Pop-Up Retail. The next stage in this evolution, which meets the need of hotel scarcity during big events like the Olympics or Summerfest, is the Pop-Up Hotel. Pop-Up Hotels are temporary lodging establishments, that can include virtually all the components of a hotel room, including beds, furniture, showers, toilets, electricity, and WiFi, that open and operate for a finite period of time which dovetails with a given event. In this article, we look at the growing trend of mobile lodging, and the civic and legal challenges to this evolving hospitality movement - one that very few municipal governments and competitors had ever anticipated. Read on...

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Coming up in August 2019...

Food & Beverage: Millennial Chefs Lead the Way

Led by Millennial chefs, hotels continue to foster sustainability, sourcing and wellness within their dining rooms and banquet spaces, and by all measures, this is responsible for an increase in their revenues. In many hotels, the food & beverage division contributes 50 per cent or more to hotel sales and they are currently experiencing double-digit growth. As a result, hotel owners are allocating an increasing amount of square footage for F&B operations. The biggest area of investment is in catering, which is thriving due to weddings, social events and business conferences. Hotels are also investing in on-site market or convenience stores that offer fresh/refrigerated foods, and buffet concepts also continue to expand. Other popular food trends include a rise of fermented offerings such as kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, kefir and pickles - all to produce the least processed food possible, and to boost probiotics to improve the immune system. Tea is also enjoying something of a renaissance. More people are thinking of tea with the same reverence as coffee due to its many varieties, applications and benefits. Craft tea blending, nitro tea on tap and even tea cocktails are beginning to appear on some hotel menus. Another trend concerns creating a unique, individualized and memorable experience for guests. This could be a small consumable item that is specific to a property or event, such as house-made snack mixes, gourmet popcorn, macaroons, or jars of house-made jams, chutneys, and mustards -all produced and customized in house. One staple that is in decline is the in-room minibar which seems to have fallen out of favor. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will document the trends and challenges in the food and beverage sector, and report on what some leading hotels are doing to enhance this area of their business.