Monthly Archives: August 2013

Hospitality Industry Insurance Update: California Restaurant Employee Injured By Co-Worker’s Prank Entitled To Workers’ Compensation Only; Court Dismisses Lawsuit Against Employer

 “…The waiter received workers’ compensation benefits and sued his employer…The court explained that even if the exception extended to an workers compensation insuranceassault by a “managing representative” the waiter did not show that the lead cook was a managing representative. The lead cook did not exercise general discretionary power of direction and control over the restaurant business or even the kitchen. At most, she made decisions regarding the kitchen work in the evenings…The California Court of Appeal dismissed the suit, finding that workers’ compensation held his exclusive remedy…”

A pizza cook at a restaurant heated a pan before placing a pizza on the pan for a waiter to bring to a customer. Because the pizza pans were generally kept cool, the waiter picked up the pan with his bare hand. When he did so, he screamed and dropped the pan. He suffered serious and permanent burn injuries.

The waiter acknowledged that before his burn injury there was substantial horseplay among the restaurant employees. The employees routinely engaged in practical jokes. He claimed that after he burned his hand he saw the lead cook and other employees laughing.

The court rejected the waiter’s argument that exceptions to the exclusivity provision applied. He did not show that the employer committed a physical assault or had any involvement or knowledge of the incident or that the lead cook or pizza cook acted on the employer’s behalf.

The waiter also did not show that the employer or any managers were aware that the lead cook had any responsibility for his burn injuries or that she was involved in an assault toward him. A restaurant manager questioned employees about the incident but only learned that the pizza cook was responsible for placing the hot pan.

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Hospitality Industry Pool Safety: “Hotel Swimming Pool Liability Reduction Checklist” From

HospitalityLawyer Lodging and the ADA WebinarCommercial Pool Safety Checklist-page-001

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: Ohio Restaurant Operator Sued For “Fair Labor Standards Act” Violations And “Unjust Enrichment”; Employees Forced To “Tip Out” Managers And Others Not Regularly Receiving Tips

“…According to the lawsuit, restaurant employees weren’t allowed to keep all of their tips because they were required to “tip Hospitality Industry Wage Violation Lawsuitsout” managers and other employees who do not regularly and customarily receive tips. That resulted in employees’ being paid less than minimum wage…a tip pool can’t include managers or other workers, such as chefs or dishwashers, who don’t typically receive tips…The lawsuit requests a jury trial for five counts of Fair Labor Standard Act violations and a count of unjust enrichment. It seeks an unspecified amount in damages that (the attorney) said would ultimately prove “substantial.””

A federal lawsuit filed Monday alleges that Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment, which runs Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse and Jeff Ruby’s Carlo & Johnny, forced employees to share tips with managers and other workers in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The practice allegedly stopped about a year ago, but lawyers for three former employees aim to recoup losses from a two-year period beginning in 2010.

Lawyers Sarah Clay Leyshock and Kristen M. Myers – both of the law firm Beckman Weil Shepardson LLC – filed the class-action suit on behalf of the three former employees as well as anyone else who might step forward in the case. Two of the represented employees worked at Carlo & Johnny in Montgomery while the third worked at the Downtown steakhouse, Leyshock said.

“Under the Fair Labor Standard Act, employees are required to retain their own tips. The one exception is that employees can be required to share their tips in a valid tip pool,” Leyshock said. She said invalid tip pools are fairly common, but still illegal.

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Hospitality Industry Technology Solutions: California Hotel’s Linen Inventory Loss Costs Reduced By 90% Using RFID Tags, Tracking Software

“… By using the technology the hotel has reduced the rate of missing items from 20 to 30 percent of all stock to only about 3 percent. In so doing, Hotel Linen Inventory Technology the system has paid for itself since its installation in December 2011…each tag’s ID is paired with data regarding the linen to which it is attached, including the type of linen and when it was manufactured. That information is then stored on the Linentracker server…By having a better view into specific linens’ locations—onsite, at the laundry facility or missing—the company has been able to reduce the incidence of shrinkage, as well as require less inventory in storage, since it now knows what its existing levels of linens consist of… If the hotel can reduce that quantity by about a sixth, he adds, significant savings result. Moreover, the hotel no longer need pay for laundering services for goods that were never returned…”

Mr. C opened its doors in summer 2011, with 138 rooms, a pool, a fitness center and a restaurant—all of which require linens. The hotel, owned by Italy’s Cipriani family, is the first of what the family expects to be a chain of luxury hotels under the same name, in such cities as Miami and New York. All linens are produced in Italy and are then shipped to the hotel, with a combined value of approximately $100,000.

Each tag’s ID is paired with data regarding the linen to which it is attached, including the type of linen and when it was manufactured. That information is then stored on the Linentracker server, hosted by Jaspersoft and using Fluensee software.  The specialized tags are designed for use in laundry applications. They can sustain up to 550 wash cycles with tunnel washers, the company reports, including the most challenging part of that cycle—the extractor, which creates the most pressure on tags by pressing the linens and their tags against the bottom of the washer as water is forced out of the machine.

The hotel installed three RFID readers, with two installed above the laundry chute through which all soiled linens pass, and the third mounted at the housekeeping station where the linens are received from a third-party laundry service.  When the hotel first opened, Jagger says, workers tracked the linens manually. Every item was sent to an off-site laundry facility, and the washed and folded versions were counted upon being returned. Manually counting each item, however, was an exhaustive chore, and errors could be made. In addition, he notes, there were large discrepancies between the quantity of items that the hotel management thought was still at the laundry site, and what the laundry service provider itself reported…”

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Hospitality Industry Technology Solutions: New Study Shows That Restaurant Employee Theft Can Be “Significantly Reduced” By Surveillance And Sales Transaction Monitoring

“…Knowing they were being monitored, the servers not only pulled back on any unethical practices, but also channeled their efforts into, say, prompting customers to have that dessert or a second beer, raising revenue for the restaurant and tips for themselves… in the restaurant Restaurant Employee Theftindustry, analysts estimate the losses from employee theft at 1 percent of revenue. That does not seem like a lot, but restaurant profit margins are slender, typically 2 to 5 percent. So cutting down on theft can be an important contributor to a restaurant’s financial health…”

And a new research paper, published on Saturday, shows in detail how significant the surveillance effect can be. The paper, “Cleaning House: The Impact of Information Technology Monitoring on Employee Theft and Productivity,” is the work of three academics: Lamar Pierce, an associate professor at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis; Daniel Snow, an associate professor at the Marriott School at Brigham Young University; and Andrew McAfee, a research scientist at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The researchers measured the impact of software that monitors employee-level theft and sales transactions, before and after the technology was installed, at 392 restaurants in 39 states. The restaurants were in five “casual dining” chains. The paper does not name the five,  but it cites examples of the casual dining category including Applebee’s, Chili’s and Olive Garden.

Employee theft and fraud is a big problem, estimated at up to $200 billion a year across the economy.

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P3 Hospitality Industry Risk Report: “Hotel Pool Preparation, Maintenance And Checklist” By Petra Risk Solutions’ Risk Manager Joe Fisco, CLSD (Video)

P3Petra Risk Solutions’ Risk Manager, Joe Fisco, CLSD , offers a P3 Hospitality Risk Update – ‘Hotel Pool Preparation, Maintenance And Checklist’.

P3 (Petra Plus Process) is the Risk Management Division of Petra Risk Solutions – America’s largest independent insurance brokerage devoted exclusively to the hospitality marketplace.

For more information on Petra and P3 visit or call 800.466.8951.

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Hospitality Industry Health And Safety: Hotels And Restaurants Avoid Onsite “Automated External Defibrillator (AED)” Placement And Training Due To Concerns About Risks And Liability

“…the American Hotel and Lodging Association, singled out the patchwork of state laws as a major reason hotels in the U.S. “do not uniformly provide training and AEDs onsite,” in a 2009 report.

AED Defibrillator Sign“…across America, there is anything but agreement among states about rules for the use of automated external defibrillators (or AEDs): Where they must be located; if they should be registered so authorities know where they are; whether a business that installs one is fully protected from liability; or even if a company is obliged to use one if someone on the premises suffers sudden cardiac arrest…”

There is no dispute that portable defibrillators, simple-to-use device that supply jolts to shock a stilled heart to beat again, could save tens of thousands of lives a year in this country alone if they are accessible to willing bystanders.

And some experts say the uneven patchwork of laws and regulations is a worrisome barrier to more widespread distribution and use of the battery-powered devices, which, if employed within minutes of cardiac arrest, can bring a person back to life.

For instance, many AEDs still carry labels saying they should only be used by “medical professionals” even though there are laws in every state giving “good Samaritan” protection to anyone who tries to use one to save the life of someone in cardiac arrest.

“The concerns about risk and liability remain very high,” said Richard Lazar, president of Readiness Systems LLC, a Portland, Ore., firm that consults with businesses and governments on AED training and placement.

Mandates for where AEDs should be placed are a national checkerboard. Nineteen states impose no mandates. But, in New York state, AEDs are required in health clubs, while in Florida, they’re mandatory in public high schools. Yet recent court rulings in both states have held that, just because those facilities are required to have the devices, they are under no legal obligation to use them.

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: Restaurants And Hotels Must “Thoroughly And Consistently” Train Employees For Alcohol Service

HospitalityLawyer Lodging and the ADA Webinar



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Hospitality Industry Employment Risks: Mississippi Hotel Sued For “Pregnancy Discrimination” By EEOC; Woman Fired On First Day Of Work After Informing Manager Of Pregnancy

“…According to the EEOC’s suit, (the employee) informed her manager of her pregnancy on her first day of work.  That evening, the manager terminated Harmon and replaced her with a non-pregnant employee, the EEOC said…”

EEOC“Employers cannot penalize women for choosing to have a family,” said Katharine W. Kores, district director of the EEOC’s Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi.  “This agency will continue to work to eliminate this type of discriminatory conduct.”

Jiji, Inc., a Holiday Inn franchisee located in Batesville, Miss., violated federal law when it fired an employee because of her pregnancy, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.  The EEOC filed suit, Civil Action No. 3:13-cv-00212, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Oxford Division after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.  The suit seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages, reinstatement and injunctive relief.

Jiji, Inc. is a Mississippi corporation based in Batesville that owns, manages, and operates hotel facilities in Mississippi. The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: New York Restaurant Sued For $1 Million For “Refusing Service” To Disabled War Veteran Using Service Dog To Ease “Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)”

“…(the plaintiff), who uses the dog to ease his posttraumatic stress disorder, is suing  for $1 million in Manhattan Federal Court. He claims the Hospitality Industry ADA Lawsuitsincident humiliated him and exacerbated his PTSD…(he) said he tried to reason with the employee invoking the Americans with  Disabilities Act (ADA), which permits service animals in public spots…(the plaintiff), who won an undisclosed settlement in 2011 after suing a McDonald’s in  Times Square over a similar experience, said he left the KFC rather than  continue the argument…”

A disabled Iraq War veteran who worked at Ground Zero says the Colonel  treated him like trash. Charles Hernandez, 50, a retired public school administrator, claims he was  refused service at a KFC in the Bronx after he brought his service dog into the  fried chicken joint.

His suit says the KFC worker violated federal, state and city laws and caused  Hernandez distress. The suit also names as defendants KFC manager Sade Clarke,  the restaurant’s owner, Star Partner Enterprises Two LLC, and that company’s  principal owner, Thomas Rose.

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