Library Archives

 
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...

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...

Michael Starr

By mid-year, pay-equity statutes will be in effect in over 15 states, including key hospitality states like California, Illinois and Massachusetts. Other states will be coming on board to this trend soon. These statutes will force hotels to justify pay disparities across jobs that were never before regarded as comparable – like, possibly, kitchen stewards and room attendants. Unless hotel employers start preparing now to analyze and justify pay disparities across job classifications, they may confront large and unexpected legal liabilities. This article explains this emerging trend and gives guidance on how to prepare. Read on...

Christine Samsel

When does your hotel remodel trigger an obligation to become ADA compliant? From ensuring the correct number of disabled-accessible guest rooms to pool and spa accessibility, attorneys with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Christine Samsel, Jonathan Sandler and Nick Santucci, address key questions and provide answers on making sure your updates are ADA-compliant. Read more in their latest article... Read on...

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.