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Paul Zimmerman
pzimmerman@mrllp.com
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Showing 125 posts in Hospitality.

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Hotels in California May Be Days Away From Reopening: What Hoteliers Need to Know

Good news for hotels from the California Department of Public Health: beginning this coming Friday (June 12), they (along with restaurants and bars, gyms, film studios, and a host of other establishments) have been given the green light to reopen for business. But before jumping for joy, hoteliers must understand that the final say in terms of reopening belongs to each county within the state. That being said, in anticipation of vacancy signs being illuminated once again, the CDPH and Cal/OSHA released revised COVID-19 Hotel and Lodging Industry Guidance. By way of this alert, Michelman & Robinson shines a light on topics and some specifics from the extensive guidance that must be considered as hotels begin operations in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. (Read More)

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Hoteliers Beware: a Return to Business Post-Pandemic Brings With It Potential Legal Liability

Without question, tourism—and by extension, hospitality—has been one of the industries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. This remains the case even as stay-at-home orders begin to be phased out and states gradually reopen for business. Long story short: hotels will continue to feel the economic sting of COVID-19 for the time being as non-essential travel is still discouraged by the Center for Disease Control, if not altogether prohibited in some places by virtue of cross-border restrictions, among other things. (Read More)

Hospitality
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Jean-Marie Guyon © 123RF.com

Here’s a Tip: Be Mindful of Pending Changes in the Treatment of Gratuities

The U.S. Department of Labor (“USDOL”) has pulled the trigger on its plan to roll back its regulations put in place in 2011 under then-President Barack Obama expressly prohibiting employers from forcing tipped employees to share gratuities with non-tipped staff (the “Obama regulations”). Once finalized, the DOL’s newly proposed rule, widely hailed by employers in the hospitality industry, will permit employers who pay its workers at least the full federal minimum wage to require traditionally tipped employees like waitstaff, captains, bussers, bartenders and runners to share customer tips with so-called “back-of-house” workers – chefs, cooks, dishwashers and porters. (Read More)

Hospitality
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Tip Credits and the Multitasking Hospitality Employee

There is good news for employers in the hospitality space coming out of the Ninth Circuit. The court in Marsh v. J. Alexander’s, LLC recently ruled that tipped employees who also perform non-tip-generating work cannot state a claim for violation of the tip credit provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act. As otherwise stated, employees, such as servers and bartenders, who occasionally handle “discrete related tasks” over the course of any given shift that are intermingled with duties directed at earning tips remain subject to tip credits (at least in those states that allow tip credits – California is not one of them). (Read More)

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Suitable Seating Laws in California: Do Not Read While Standing

Picture this: a grand and bustling hotel lobby bathed in light, impeccably designed, and furnished with beautiful seating areas where guests lounge and enjoy. Adjacent to the stunning lobby, and just steps from the hotel’s entrance, is the busy front desk, staffed by attentive, smartly dressed employees answering questions, checking guests into rooms, and otherwise accommodating all those who approach them.

Noticeably absent from anywhere behind the front desk, however, is a place for these employees to sit. And while it is no surprise that hotel staff is not provided with plush chairs and couches like those adorning the lobby, the lack of suitable seating could raise red flags given the California Supreme Court’s relatively recent clarification of the issue in Kilby v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., a class action suit brought on behalf of pharmacy cashiers and bank tellers for violation of certain California Wage Orders issued by the California Industrial Welfare Commission (“Wage Orders”). (Read More)

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Transgender Bathroom Laws in California: What Employers Need to Know

The rights and civil liberties of transgender people have become an important topic openly discussed and debated nationwide. Clearly, the issues confronting the transgender community are many, but it seems press coverage has boiled its plight down to a rather narrow question: which public restroom should transgender men, women, boys and girls use? (Read More)

Hospitality
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Thanapol Mongta © 123RF.COM

Hoteliers Taking Aim at Airbnb

No doubt, Airbnb has found its way prominently onto the radar screens of those occupying the hospitality space. But the question remains: how much of a threat is the short-term rental platform to hotels and resorts? (Read More)

Hospitality
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Dmitriy Shironosov © 123RF.com

Arbitration Agreements: Do Yours Include All Necessary Carve Outs?

Attention employers, including those of you in the hospitality space. The California Supreme Court issued a ruling within the last week significantly impacting your ability to arbitrate certain disputes with employees. Consequently, if you have entered into any stand-alone arbitration agreements with employees or employment contracts with arbitration provisions – or should you plan on doing so going forward – read on. (Read More)

Hospitality
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sweetok © 123RF.com

Anticipating Trump’s Impact on Labor Relations in the Hotel Industry

Unlike his oval office predecessor, President-elect Donald Trump is expected to limit federal labor and employment agency activism in wage and hour and other employment-related matters. Hotel owners and franchisors, which in recent months have experienced numerous workforce-related challenges, are likely to witness significant labor and employment policy shifts, a few of which are detailed below. (Read More)

Hospitality
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kzenon © 123RF.com 

INSECURE: Is Your Hotel Security Staff Exposing You to Liability?

Are you a hotel owner and/or operator who employs a private security staff? If so, do not let administrative inattention threaten your business. Take a few key steps to reduce your potential liability. California regulations effective since 2011 require that all hoteliers employing their own security guards must be licensed with the state and failure to comply with the requirement could expose hoteliers to premises liability and negligence lawsuits. (Read More)