Hotel Law Essay Example

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  • Document type:
    Case Study
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    High School
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The Name of the School (University)

The City and State where it is located

Question One

Employment Act

The Employment Act gives employees and employers several rights and responsibilities that need to be adhered to in the employer employee relationship. According to the Employment Act employees have the responsibility to ensure safety in the workplace (Levy, 2006, p. 78-95). They have to ensure that persons that they meet are not expose to unsafe conditions in the work environment. Under the OSHA Act, employees are expected to report to their employers instances of unsafe working conditions. They have a duty to report any instance that they believe may result in harm to persons who visit the workplace. Reporting of unsafe workplaces is usually expected and is not an obligation that may be enforced against an employee (Moyane, et al., 2009). Employees cannot be punished for not reporting unsafe working conditions to the employers.

In this instance the colleague has called another asking to be bailed out of jail. The employee who is working in the hotel industry is expected to uphold certain standards at work and outside work that adhere to hotel employees. Hotel employees are in constant close contact with hotel guests and hence safety standards are paramount. Hotel employees usually undergo background checks to ascertain that they have no criminal records before they are employed. Hotels will usually have policies stating whether the employee is expected to report if they are arrested or have pending arrests. Under the Equal Employment and Opportunity Act, employees ought not to be victimized for being arrested or for having criminal records (Moyane et al., 2009).

How to Handle the Case

The employee would have to determine if they have the duty/obligation to report their colleague to the employer. It may be argued that the colleague that has been arrested for a drunk driving charge may pose a risk to hotel guests. If the employee does not report the colleague to the employer, there is a risk that the colleague might cause harm to guests. Nevertheless, under the law, the employee cannot be victimized for not reporting their colleague for having a drink driving charge (Cournoyer, 2014). However, while the employee is not legally obligated to report their colleague to the employer, they could monitor them to determine if their drink driving behavior is chronic. If they determine that their drinking may pose a risk to hotel guests, then they should report them to the employer if they will not do it themselves.


Under the Employment Act, employees are not legally obligated to report their fellow employees to employers. Employees only have a duty to ensure that they report any workplaces unsafe workplaces. Employees that have drink driving charges make the workplace unsafe for the hotel guests. However, under the Equal Employment and Opportunity Act an employee is not obligated to report their criminal backgrounds to the employer. The employee will not be held accountable for not reporting their fellow employee to the employer for a drink driving charge. Nevertheless, if the employee is under an at-will employment contract they may be dismissed for having a drink driving charge that potentially makes them a danger to the hotel guests and its reputation.

Question two

Hotel Duty of Care

Under common law, innkeepers and hotelkeeper are expected to have the duty to protect their guests and their valuables from harm or loss (Sherry & Sherry, 2013, p. 345-356). It is important to note that the duty of care placed upon the hotel has limitations. For hotel guests who have valuables in their possession, it is expected that their valuables will be safe from loss during their stay in the hotel. However, the hotel is only liable up to a certain amount of loss if the valuables are not kept in the hotel safe. It is expected that guests deposit all their valuables in the hotel safe if they are to claim duty of care in case of loss.

Who Bears the Liability

An important aspect in liability in such an instance is the duty of the hotel to inform the guest of their obligation to store their valuables in the hotel safe. It is expected that the hotel would have a notice conspicuously posted that the guest would easily see and read it from a distance of 500 meters (Barth & Hayes, 2006, p. 112-132). While it may be argued that the notice was posted, it was not conspicuous enough given that it was hidden in a dresser drawer under blankets. Assuming Kinnear never needed extra blankets, she would never find or read it. Additionally, the duty is not on Kinnear to find and read the notice. The onus is on the hotel to place the notice conspicuously and hence the hotel will be liable for the loss
(Crain, 2007, p. 239).

How to Avoid Such a Situation in Future

The situation was clearly because of either negligence or bad faith on the part of the hotel. The hotel staff should have posted the notice conspicuously in order to prevent a suit. It is possible that one of the staffers in the hotel believed that placing the notice in the drawer was enough to pass the test of being conspicuous. Therefore, the hotel staff should be trained on how to post the notice in a conspicuous place that may be seen and read from a distance of 500 meters (Goodwin, Gaston & Goodwin, 2007, p.45-65). Lastly, it would be advisable for the hotel to always inform each staff that they ought to place their valuables in the hotel safe deposit box. It would also be prudent to place the notice in a prominent place in every room like the dressing mirror.


The hotel has placed itself in a situation in which it is liable for the loss of property through negligence. It is not practical to expect hotel clients to know that they ought to place their valuables in the hotel safe deposit box. It is the responsibility of the hotel to bring the attention of the guests to the need for placing their valuables in the hotel safe deposit box. Failure to do so through a conspicuous notice makes the hotel liable for any loss. Proper training of hotel staff on this law will prevent such liability in future.

Question three


Harassment in this instance is a form of discrimination that falls under the Civil Rights Act of 1967 part VII. Harassment is only deemed to be such if it is deemed to be unwelcome conduct. Harassment is deemed illegal if the person experiencing unwelcome conduct has to endure the conduct as a condition for continued employment (Achampong, 2009, p. 87-101). Furthermore, it has to be conduct that is deemed to create a work environment that is abusive, intimidating, or hostile for a reasonable person. Conduct that is unwelcome but not perverse or severe including annoyances, petty slights, and isolated incidences are not legally deemed to be harassment. A harasser could be a non-employee, supervisor, a coworker, or an agent of the employer. Anyone affected by the offensive conduct is a victim even if not directly.

Handling the Situation

As the Human resource director of the Sour grapes Hotel, it is your responsibility to prevent and deal with issues of employee harassment. It is important to note that the employees in question have not specifically come out to complain about harassment by the executive housekeeper. It will be critical collect more information before taking any action on harassment. Firstly, the human resource director should call a separate meeting of the junior housekeepers and the executive housekeepers to determine if there has been any unwelcome conduct (Addison & Lawson-Cruttenden, 2008, p. 452). It would also be prudent that the HR director talk to the subordinates regarding their views on the romantic overtures of the executive housekeeper.

Issues and Concerns

The first concern of the director is whether the conduct is unwelcome. It will be important to determine from the junior housekeepers if the conduct of the executive housekeeper is unwelcome or simply an annoyance or something petty. The concern is that the junior employees may be intimidated and may not say the truth fearing repercussions. Privacy concerns will also have to be taken into account. While it is possible that the executive housekeeper is involved in harassment, it is critical that his privacy is respected. Romantic overtures in the workplace are not necessarily harassment but they may be deemed so if the other subordinates are offended by them. It may still be considered harassment if the conduct is continuous and perverse and the subordinates do not like it (Mackinnon & Siegel, 2012, p. 43-76).


It is important that the human resource director seek to know the story from the perspective of all persons involved. Of critical importance is to have a meeting with all participants to determine if the conduct is perverse and offensive. Since the conduct is affecting several rather than one subordinate, it is highly likely that some of them would find the conduct unwelcoming. This aspect would make the conduct possibly harassment and may place the hotel and the executive housekeeper under liability for violating the civil rights act. The best solution for all parties would be to ask the executive housekeeper not to make romantic overtures at work. Asking the subordinates to report if they were uncomfortable with any overtures by coworkers or supervisors will also work to ensure that the hotel is not under liability for harassment.


Achampong, F. (2009). Workplace sexual harassment law: principles, landmark developments, and framework for effective risk management. Westport, Conn. [u.a.], Quorum Books.

Addison, N., & Lawson-Cruttenden, T. (2008). Harassment law and practice. London, Blackstone.

Barth, S. C., & Hayes, D. K. (2006). Hospitality law: managing legal issues in the hospitality industry. Hoboken, N.J., John Wiley & Sons.

Cournoyer, N. G. (2014). Instructor’s manual for hotel, restaurant and travel law: a preventive approach. Albany, N.Y., Delmar.

Goodwin, J. R., Gaston, J. R., & Goodwin, J. R. (2007). Hotel, hospitality, & tourism law. Scottsdale, Ariz, Gorsuch Scarisbrick.

Levy, S. J. (2006). The Employment Act of 1946: 50 years later: conference proceedings including speeches by S. Jay Levy … [et al.]. Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. 

Mackinnon, C. A., & Siegel, R. B. (2012). Directions in sexual harassment law. New Haven, Yale University Press.

Moyane, K., Strydom, E. M. L., Young, K. L., Jordaan, B., & Kalula, E. (2009). Understanding the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. Cape Town, Juta Law.

Sherry, J. E. H., & Sherry, J. H. (2013). The laws of innkeepers: for hotels, motels, restaurants, and clubs. Ithaca, Cornell University Press.