Library Archives

 
Michael Elkon

While defining a "hostile work environment" is generally commonplace for HR professionals, one new, emerging trend in the workplace is the filing by employees or their attorneys of assault and battery charges. The law regarding assault and battery in the civil context has existed for decades, but in recent years, lawyers representing employees have started to make use of these claims with increasing frequency. This article lists five primary reasons for this shift, along with enumerating six steps an employer should follow to protect his company against an assault and battery claim. READ MORE

Marc Stephen Shuster

The United States Green Building Council estimates that buildings account for approximately ("~") 38% of carbon emissions, ~14% of potable water consumption, ~30% of waste output, ~40% of raw materials, and a significant portion of our energy consumption. In California, roughly 19% of all energy consumed is for water treatment and pumping for human consumption. These numbers hold true for hotels, resorts, and casinos in warm climates. Maximizing sustainability in a hotel, resort, or casino property takes time and a considerable upfront capital investment. Detailed, below, are some reasons why sustainable measures are a "must" in the nation's hospitality market. READ MORE

Lonnie Giamela

Employees can make or break businesses in the service industry. While customer service oriented employees create a luxurious experience at a lesser establishment, employees that don't prioritize customer service can ruin a guest's experience even at the most finely-appointed hotel. However, managers and supervisors cannot always be present to recognize and reward desirable service practices, nor can they always be present identify and correct poor practices. With so many points of customer and employee interaction, surveillance is one of the most effective methods to safeguard employee safety and integrity, review employee performance, identify training points, and document "HR issues." Of course, too much of a good thing can be a problem. Employers must understand the difference between valid surveillance and illegal intrusions on privacy rights before taking advantage of video/audio recordings. This article aims to help employers stay on the right side of that fence. READ MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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 MORE

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Coming up in June 2020...

Sales & Marketing: Technology Rules

It is impossible for any hotel to develop an effective sales and marketing plan that doesn't include a wide-ranging digital strategy. Online platforms have impacted virtually every aspect of their business, due to major changes in how Internet users research, plan, and book their hotel visits. As a result, a successful plan includes generating traffic through the use of a hotel website, social media, email and a myriad of other digital marketing technologies. One such strategy uses data collection and automation technology to create personalized content to individual customers. The goal of personalization marketing is to engage potential customers by communicating with them as individuals - to establish a more personal relationship - as a way of encouraging them to visit a property. Video marketing is also extremely important. Showing someone authentic video from a specific location is immersive and engaging, and video is still the preferred way for customers to interact with a hotel brand. Voice and Visual Search are increasingly in demand, as consumers are moving away from typing queries into a search engine. Instead, they can simply speak their request into their phone, and find and book a hotel without ever typing a word. Similarly, other platforms allow consumers to search visually for almost any image, and find out pricing information, shopping comparisons and how-to-buy - all from the app. The adoption of Artificial Intelligence is also becoming popular. The ability of chatbots to answer simple questions or fulfill requests 24/7 is undeniably appealing. In addition, A.I. seems best positioned to qualify leads that can be later nurtured and closed by a human sales expert - all at a fraction of the cost of a traditional support team. The June Hotel Business Review will examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating these innovative technologies into their operations.