Monthly Archives: September 2013

Hospitality Industry Health Risks: Restaurants Must Make Food Safety A “Core Value”; Lack Of “Hand Washing, Food Holding Temperature Controls” Remain Biggest Risk To Customers

“…Hand washing and proper holding temperatures — the basics of food safety — have not changed in 30 years, said Moore of Eat’n Restaurant Kitchen Health RisksPark. The key is keeping the message fresh so that employees pay attention…with a workforce largely under the age of 25, employers need to make sure their messages are quick and easy to grasp. Moore said he relies on lots of colorful visuals, and customized posters, comics, video clips featuring celebrities, games like Pandemic 2, and stuffed-animal germs and microbes are among his favorites…”

Food safety “needs to be part of your core values,” William Moore, director of safety and security for Eat’n Park Hospitality Inc., the Homestead, Pa.-based parent of the 75-unit Eat’n Park family-dining chain, said during his keynote speech. “If it’s not in your core values, your mission statement, then it’s not a priority.”

The symposium occurred against the backdrop of a Cyclospora outbreak that had sickened 642 people in 25 states, leading to 45 hospitalizations but no deaths, throughout the summer. The cause of the outbreak was still under investigation at press time, although a salad mix from Taylor Farms de Mexico served at Darden Restaurants Inc. in two states had been implicated in about 240 of the illnesses.

Tugging at the heartstrings doesn’t hurt either, said several attendees. Al Baroudi, Ph.D., vice president, quality assurance and food safety for The Cheesecake Factory Inc., the Calabasas Hills, Calif.-based operator of 175 upscale casual-dining restaurants, shows his audiences an image of the hundreds of children and adults that have died during foodborne illness outbreaks to drive home the point that lives are stake.

For more:  http://nrn.com/food-safety/7-steps-ensuring-restaurant-food-safety?page=2

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Hospitality Industry Legal Issues: Michigan Hotel Renovates Rooms To Accomodate Smokers (And Medical Marijuana Users); “Smoke-Free Air Laws” Do Not Apply To Outside Patios

“…Under the state’s Smoke-Free Air Law, which went into effect in May 2010, tobacco smoking is prohibited inside places where Hotel Guest Smoking Issuespeople work, including hotels, bars and restaurants. But the law doesn’t apply to smoking outside — hence the patios…The law also doesn’t mention cannabis smoke… Betty Aldworth, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said “marijuana-related tourism is the fastest-growing sector of the marijuana industry…states with both medical marijuana laws and a flourishing health care industry — such as Grand Rapids — destinations for ill people to legally use medical marijuana.

The Howard Johnson franchise on 28th Street in Grand Rapids has seen occupancy soar since owner Bob Sullivan made a seemingly unfashionable business decision: accommodate smokers. And not just the tobacco variety. Sullivan caters to marijuana smokers, as well.

Twenty rooms already have been renovated to accommodate smokers. And by the time Sullivan’s done, 60-80 of the hotel’s 155 rooms will allow smoking — accommodating medical marijuana patients as well as tobacco smokers.

Michigan legalized medical marijuana in 2008, and Grand Rapids decriminalized marijuana last year — making possession of a small amount a civil infraction, similar to a parking ticket.

Occupancy at the Howard Johnson has seen an increase every weekend, Sullivan said. “Every weekend, every one of those rooms is sold.”

Sullivan, who himself does not smoke cigarettes or marijuana, estimates occupancy is up 50 percent since he started renovating the rooms.

Renovations have included opening up each room with sliding doors and installing a patio with a tall fence around it to provide privacy — “a little smoking area for each room right at the door,” Sullivan said. “Otherwise, people have to go outside the lobby doors.

For more: http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20130929/NEWS/309299981/smokers-tokers-light-up-hotel-owners-occupancy-rates#

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Hospitality Industry Employment Risks: New York Restaurant Settles “Sexual Harassment” Lawsuit For $35,000; Seven Female Workers Subjected To Groping, Explicit Propositions And Lewd Remarks

“…The EEOC’s lawsuit charged that Angelo’s owners subjected seven female employees to sexual harassment from January 2005 through September 2012.  Angelo’s Pizza was purchased by Kefalas in September 2012…in January 2013, Kefalas was added to the lawsuit as a successor EEOCemployer…According to the seven harassment victims, Angelo’s owners, Kostantinos Raptis, Nikolaos Raptis and Andrew Xenos, groped their breasts and buttocks and made sexually explicit propositions and comments, including requests for sexual acts and other lewd remarks…The EEOC further alleged that Kefalas fired two of the women in retaliation for complaining about the sexual harassment…”

Angelo’s Pizza and Grill, Inc. and Kefalas Enterprises, Inc., the former and current owners of Angelo’s Pizza and Grill, a full-service family restaurant located in upstate New York, will pay seven women $35,000.00 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

For example, one of the owners would hold a cucumber or orange traffic cone between his legs and simulate sex.  Another forced a female employee into a back storage room, where he shut the door, turned off the lights, touched her breasts and fondled her.  Angelo’s owners also routinely made comments about oral sex and body parts.

Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed suit, EEOC v. Angelo’s Pizza & Grill, Inc., and Kefalas Enterprises, Inc., 8:11-cv-01043 (NAM) (RFT), in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York in August 2011 after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Although Kostantinos and Nikolaos Raptis and Andrew Xenos, the original owners of Angelo’s Pizza, are no longer involved in the restaurant, both Angelo’s and Kefalas will be bound by a three-year consent decree settling the suit.  The decree, in addition to the $35,000 monetary relief, enjoins Angelo’s, its principals and any future businesses it may purchase or operate and Kefalas from engaging in future sexual harassment or retaliation.   Kefalas must also put mechanisms in place to protect any future employees from sexual harassment and retaliation.  The decree has been approved by Federal District Court Judge Norman A. Mordue.

“These women were subjected to especially crude and unacceptable conduct,” said EEOC New York District Director Kevin Berry.  “The EEOC will not stop aggressively pursuing remedies for victims of sexual harassment in the workplace.”

EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Judith Biltekoff added, “The victims in this case have shown great strength in standing up to right the wrongs perpetrated against them by their former employer.  They live and work in a small town in upstate New York where jobs are at a premium.  It took courage to come forward at the risk of losing their jobs.  We are pleased that they will be compensated and that future harassment will be prevented.”

EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the commission is available on its website at http://www.eeoc.gov.  The Buffalo Local Office is part of EEOC’s New York District Office which oversees New York, New England and portions of New Jersey.

For more:  http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/9-27-13a.cfm

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Hospitality Industry Safety Risks: Florida Hotel Group To Place “Lifeguards And Fences” At Pools During “All Open Hours”; Move Follows Death Of 13-Year Old Boy In March

“…Lifeguards will be on duty at all times while the pools are open…But guests will no longer be permitted to swim in the feature pools after Hotel Pool Drowing Riskshours. Disney plans to install fences around any of those pools that are not already gated, a process that will begin in the coming months as hotels roll through their regular renovation cycles…(the move follows) the death of 13-year-old Anthony Johnson, who was pulled from a pool at Disney’s Pop Century Resort at about 9:30 p.m. on March 10…(he) died two days later at Florida Hospital Celebration…”

Walt Disney World says it will begin stationing lifeguards at its largest hotel pools during all operating hours and then locking them down overnight, six months after a young boy drowned while a pool was unguarded. Disney says its largest and most popular “feature” pools will begin opening at either 7 a.m. or 9 a.m. and closing at 11 p.m.

Only smaller and unguarded “quiet” pools at some hotels will remain accessible at all hours. Disney has about two dozen hotels and time-share resorts across its sprawling property.

“These changes make it easier for guests to understand when our pools are open and when a lifeguard is present,” Disney World spokeswoman Bernadette Davis.

Disney would not say whether a specific event triggered the move. Though that pool was open from 7 a.m. until 11 pm., lifeguards were only on duty from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Disney said it had posted signs warning that guests who chose to swim while the pool was unguarded did so at their own risk.

For more:  http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2013-09-26/business/os-disney-locking-swimming-pools-20130926_1_walt-disney-world-pools-lifeguards

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Hospitality Industry Crime Risks: New Jersey Hotel Employee Arrested For Stealing “Wedding Reception Cash”; Used Freight Elevator To Avoid Surveillance Cameras And Enter Rooms

“…(the former employee), who was hired in May, apparently slipped up through the freight elevator so that he wouldn’t be detected by hotel Hospitality Industry Employee Crimesurveillance cameras and then used a swipe card to get into unoccupied newlywed suites…$770 was taken (in one incident) and for another on Saturday, when a couple said $500 was stolen…”

A since-fired bell hop at the Saddle Brook Marriott was arrested by local police last night and charged with slipping into the rooms of newlyweds at their receptions and snatching some of their wedding-gift cash.

Timothy Henriquez, 30, of Chester, NY, is charged with two counts of theft — for a July incident in which $770 was taken and for another on Saturday, when a couple said $500 was stolen. He was released on a summons pending a Municipal Court hearing, police said.

“Upon learning of his arrest, Marriott terminated his employment,” Saddle Brook Police Chief Robert Kugler said.

For more: http://cliffviewpilot.com/saddle-brook-police-charge-hotel-employee-with-thefts-from-newlyweds-rooms/

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P3 Hospitality Industry Risk Report: “New I-9 Documents” By Petra Risk Solutions’ Director Of Human Resources Sharyn Maldonado, PHR

P3Petra Risk Solutions’ Director Of  Human Resources, Sharyn Maldonado, PHR , offers a P3 Hospitality Risk Update – ‘New I-9 Documents’.

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 petrarisksolutions.com or call 800.466.8951.

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Hospitality Industry HazMat Risks: South Carolina Hotel Guests Evacuated, Hospitalized After Exposure To Pool Chemical Fumes; Employee Accidently Mixes Muriatic Acid And Chlorine

“…The area where the chemicals were mixed (was) isolated…one of the two chemicals was muriatic acid (and) the other chemical was Hotel Pool Chemical HazMat Riskschlorine (that) were mixed by an employee of the hotel by accident, creating the strong fumes that affected the employees and guests…One of the 12 transported by EMS was an employee of the hotel, but the other eleven were guests. An additional six people were treated at the hotel, but did not require further medical attention…”

The overnight nursing supervisor at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center confirmed all 14 patients who were being Hazardous Materials Teamtreated for respiratory issues following an accidental chemical mixture have been discharged from the hospital. Bob Derr, a Battalion Chief with the City of Myrtle Beach Fire Department confirmed the Hazmat situation was reported after two chemicals were mixed together in the pool maintenance area under the hotel the Landmark Resort at 1501 South Ocean Boulevard, affecting both guests and employees.

Twelve people have been taken to Grand Strand Regional Medical Center by EMS, and two more drove themselves. All 14 were presenting respiratory issues. Battalion Chief Derr suggested more guests could be transported if they started to show signs of respiratory distress.

Crews did not evacuate the hotel completely. The lower floors were cleared as a precaution.

For more:  http://www.wistv.com/story/23509101/crews-respond-to

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: North Carolina Restaurant Operator Sued By EEOC For “Religious Discrimination”; Fired Woman For Wearing Skirts As Part Of Her Pentecostal Church Beliefs

“…(the employee, Sheila Silver, was) a member of the Pentecostal church (and believed) women should wear skirts in accordance with this EEOCreligious belief…Silver worked for various Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants since 1992.  Scottish Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take Home purchased the KFC restaurant where Silver worked in April 2013.  At that time, they informed Silver she must wear pants to work because of their dress code policy.  Silver told Scottish Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take Home she could not wear pants because of her religious beliefs.  The companies ultimately fired her for refusing to wear pants to work…”

Scottish Food Systems, Inc. and Laurinburg KFC Take Home, Inc., two North Carolina corporations that operate a chain of Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in eastern North Carolina, violated federal law by failing to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs and firing her because of her religion, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in an employment discrimination lawsuit filed today.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employees’ due to their religious beliefs as long as doing so does not pose an undue hardship.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (EEOC v. Scottish Food Systems, Inc. d/b/a Kentucky Fried Chicken and Laurinburg KFC Take Home, Inc. d/b/a Kentucky Fried Chicken, Civil Action No. 1:13-CV-00796) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.  The EEOC seeks back pay, compensatory damages and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief.

“Employers must respect employees’ sincerely held religious beliefs and carefully consider requests made by employees based on those beliefs,” said Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District Office, which includes the EEOC’s Raleigh Area Office, where the charge of discrimination was filed. “This case demonstrates the EEOC’s continued commitment to fighting religious discrimination in the workplace.”

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment.  Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at http://www.eeoc.gov.

For more:  http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/9-19-13c.cfm

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Hospitality Industry Employee Crime: New York Hotel Security Director Arrested For Arson After Setting A Series Of Small Fires In Hallways And Stairwells; “Working Vacation” While Hotel Was Shut Down For Repairs

“…(the suspect) was the director of security — and according to his  wife the fire safety director —- for the Yotel hotel near Times Square (and) Hospitality Industry Employee Crimeset a series of blazes that shut down the building for days, freeing him to get  liquored up on the job in guest rooms, FDNY sources said…(he) would light newspapers to set the rubbish fires late  at night or early in the morning while he was on duty…No one was injured in the  blazes, but the source said the small fires would also temporarily close the bars and  nightclubs inside…the hotel would then be  shut down for repairs, giving him a working vacation…”

City fire marshals arrested Barbosa, of West New York, N.J., on Friday,  charging him with setting five small rubbish blazes in the hallways, stairwells  and emergency exits at the Yotel on 10th Ave. over the past two years.

Before that, he allegedly set three fires at the Soho Grand Hotel on West  Broadway — where he worked as a security guard between 2009 and 2010 — including  one just before 3 a.m. on New Year’s Day that brought revelers’ celebrations to  an early close.

Wearing a dark navy suit and a white dress shirt, Barbosa was ordered held on  $50,000 bail. Manhattan prosecutors asked for $20,000, but the arraignment judge  upped the request.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/times-square-hotel-security-chief-arrested-setting-arson-fires-sources-article-1.1463370#ixzz2fdA5nlYl

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Hospitality Industry Technology Solutions: New Restaurant POS And Video Integration Software “Flags Questionable Transactions, Events And Conditions” To Reduce Employee Theft

“…software that can isolate POS activity not in compliance with performance standards and that is integrated with accompanying video Restaurant Employee Theftprovides training opportunities and also highlights suspicious activity of a particular cashier or manager…top that off with a video catching an employee in the act and it’s icing on the cake…The cloud-based system, which now has a real-time mobile app to alert  managers when suspicious activity occurs,  gives managers hard data on their employees, said Lori Kittle, CIO of Landry’s, the company behind 40 restaurant brands, including Morton’s, Bubba Gump and McCormick & Schmick’s…”

The National Restaurant Association estimates that internal employee theft is responsible for 75 percent of inventory shortages and about 4 percent of restaurant sales. Three-quarters of employees steal from the workplace at least once, while half steal repeatedly.

Another company specializing in detecting and preventing employee theft is EZConnect, which is used in Subway and Dunkin Donuts units. The platform features the ability to integrate digital video with the POS system as well.

“Suspicious cash transactions can be pinpointed and reviewed quickly, avoiding hours of research on standard digital camera systems,” Michael Starer, CEO of Profit Enhancement Technologies Inc., the company behind EZConnect.

For more:  http://www.fastcasual.com/article/219487/Using-technology-to-stop-restaurant-theft

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