Presentation on theme: "The Legal Environment of Lodging Operations. Introduction The laws affecting lodging facilities are more numerous and complex than those affecting most."— Presentation transcript:
The Legal Environment of Lodging Operations
Introduction The laws affecting lodging facilities are more numerous and complex than those affecting most other types of businesses. Managers should have enough knowledge to be aware of how to develop strategies to minimize the property’s exposure to potential litigation and to train employees to minimize risks in their departments.
Law and the Lodging Industry The only way to protect a hotel company from lawsuits is to practice preventive law. Employers are liable for acts of their employees if the employees are at fault and were doing work for the employer at the time of the accident or incident.
Law and the Lodging Industry The most commonly litigated areas involve food safety and alcohol service. Food safety – ◦ In order to be protected from lawsuits: The food preparation area should be inspected regularly to ensure that no hazards exist. Food must be properly handled to ensure its safety. Practice good hand-washing techniques.
Law and the Lodging Industry Housekeeping and maintenance ◦ Inspection and repair – The primary legal dangers in both housekeeping and maintenance are negligence related and involve lack of inspection and repair. Injuries sustained from slips and falls are the most common type of lawsuit hotels encounter. A property owner is liable for any injuries resulting from “a potentially harmful object so inviting or interesting to a child that it would lure the child onto the property to investigate.”
Law and the Lodging Industry ◦ Lost and stolen guest property – All hotels are required to provide safes for guest use. If the guest chooses not to use the safe and finds some valuables missing from his/her room, the hotel is generally not liable. ◦ Reservations and Overbooking – To avoid liability, front desk agents should check area hotel for availability if they know that overbooking is likely. Guest could recover compensatory damages.
Law and the Lodging Industry ◦ Key control – Good key control practices include: ◦ Requiring identification when issuing a replacement or additional key. ◦ Installing a key card system. ◦ Changing locks when a room key is missing. ◦ Limiting the number of master keys that are issued to employees. ◦ Installing elevators that require a key to activate. ◦ Not having room numbers displayed anywhere on the key.
Law and the Lodging Industry Not verbally confirming a name and room number by telephone within earshot of a nonemployee. Refusing to give out room information. Placing key drop boxes behind the counter on the front desk, not on top of the counter. Regularly inspecting room locks for damage and wear.
Civil Liability Negligence ◦ In a negligence claim, a plaintiff must prove: The defendant owed the plaintiff a particular standard of care. The defendant deviated from that standard. The deviation caused the plaintiff’s injury. ◦ A landowner normally does not have a duty to protect individuals from the criminal acts of third parties unless the acts are foreseeable.
Civil Liability Mean streets – If a facility’s location is in an area with a significant history of assaults, muggings, and robberies, landowners may be liable if they take no steps to protect patrons from known potential dangers.
Lighting– ◦ Lighting is generally considered to be the most important security feature in the parking facilities. ◦ The basic features of lighting design include illumination, uniformity, and glare. ◦ In addition to meeting industry standards and providing glare- free lighting, lights must be reliable, easy to maintain, able to withstand the elements, and vandal proof. The hiding place – ◦ Landowners should not include restrooms in parking-facility designs, especially in underground garages. ◦ They make excellent hiding spots for criminals.
Higher Floors Are Safer Upper floors are generally safer from crime, but worse for fire rescue. Emergency rescue is best below the fifth floor.
Door Security Hardware Hotel or motel rooms should be equipped with a solid-core wood or metal door for best protection. ◦ Doors should be self-closing and self-locking. ◦ Room doors should have a deadbolt lock with at least a one-inch throw bolt.
Occupancy Cues for Guests Put the Do-Not-Disturb sign on the doorknob even when you are away, this deters room burglars (it may affect housekeeping service, however). Turn on the TV or radio just loud enough to hear through the door to give the appearance that the room is occupied. Leave one light on inside the room if you will return after dark.
Curbside Deterrence Highly visible doormen and valet parking attendants are a great crime deterrent, especially on smaller hotel properties. Criminals don’t like doormen for two reasons: ◦ First, they don’t want to be identified, and ◦ Second, they don’t want to be captured should they have to escape in a hurry.
Key Control Metal room keys are being replaced by electronically coded key-cards. Key-cards have the capability of being randomly coded at the point of registration, which re-emphasizes the guest perception of room security.