One of the fastest ways to tag yourself as an unqualified hospitality management candidate is to make no mention of hospitality law on your resume. It is one of the reasons why some organizations are now frowning on candidates who move up through the ranks. It is also a way to identify unqualified management candidates in the job interview process.
Most management candidates with a BA from a reputable university have a basic understanding of hospitality and labor laws. Hospitality law commonly encompasses a wide array of laws including contracts, anti-trust, torts, real estate, and many others.
Duty to Guests
Courtesy and service are not just your company’s motto. They are a legal expectation the guest have when patronizing your establishment.
Hotels and restaurant operators are expected to “act prudently and use reasonable care”[ Barth, Stephen. (2009). Hospitality Law. p. 261.] It is the business’s responsibility to ensure that the premises are (reasonably) free of risk. In most areas ‘prudent and reasonable’ includes foreseeable dangers, such as tripping hazards or unsecured shelving. It can also mean keeping sidewalks and parking lots free of danger.
Common law holds innkeepers liable for any loss of guest property when the guest is on the premises of a place of business except in situations where the guest has signed a waiver.
A bailment is the “delivery of an item of property, for some purpose, with the expressed or implied understanding that the person receiving it shall return it in the same or similar condition in which it was received, when the purpose has been completed.” This includes Coat checks, safety deposit boxes, and luggage storage are some of the more common examples.
Complexity of Hospitality Law
The most common problem faced by the hospitality industry is loss of valuables, food poisoning, and injury. Hotels and other establishments must protect the confidentiality of their guests’, including their identity. Hotels are obligated to protect their guests from criminals, like theft of belongings left in the rooms or other harms, possibly even terrorist attacks.
This means that a casino can be liable for a dealer who short changes gamblers. Or, a hotel can be liable if housekeeping steals items from guest rooms. While this is common knowledge, what is more complicated is what happens if there is a fire, or natural disaster.