Monthly Archives: October 2013

Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: New Jersey Hotel Settles “Price Gouging” Lawsuit For $75,000; Raised Prices 70 Percent During Hurricane Sandy

New Jersey’s price gouging law prohibits excessive price increases during a declared state of emergency or for 30 days after the termination of Hotel Price Gougingthe state of emergency. Excessive price increases are defined as more than 10 percent higher than the price at which merchandise was sold during the normal course of business prior to the state of emergency.  If a merchant incurs additional costs during the state of emergency, prices may not exceed 10 percent above the normal markup from cost.

A Hazlet Hotel has agreed to pay penalties for allegedly price gouging in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said Wednesday in a press release. The Riya Hazlet Hotel, a Holiday Inn at 2870 Rt. 35, Hazlet, will pay $75,000 to settle the suit, which includes $2,951 in consumer restitution.  The state will receive $52,121 in civil penalties and $19,926 in attorneys’ fees and investigative costs, Hoffman said.

In December 2012, a N.J. state lawsuit alleged that the Hazlet Holiday Inn raised its prices more than 70 percent, from under $135 to almost $230 a night, between Oct. 27 and Nov. 5 during a declared state of emergency.

The Office of the Attorney General and its Divisions of Consumer Affairs and Law have reached settlements with another eight companies alleged to have price gouged customers following Superstorm Sandy, Hoffman said.  Under terms of these settlements, the State will obtain more than $437,000 in penalties, fees and consumer restitution.

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Filed under Guest Issues, Liability, Management And Ownership, Risk Management

Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: New York Restaurant Found Guilty Of “Anti-Semitic Harassment”; Ordered To Pay $900,000 To Former Deliveryman

A New York restaurant deliveryman was awarded a $900,000 jury verdict for  enduring 16 years of anti-Semitic harassment by three Hospitality Industry Harassment Lawsuitssupervisors…(who) called him a “dirty Jew” and threw pennies at him while making  anti-Semitic comments; they also docked his tips.

A deliveryman for New York’s Manhattan  restaurant Mangia 57 has won a $900,000 jury verdict for the anti-Semitic  harassment he endured while working at the establishment. According to the lawsuit, night shift manager Artur Zbozien often “passed  gas” in front of Adam Wiercinski and said it was Zyklon B, the poison German  Nazis used to exterminate Jews during the Holocaust, the New York Post reported.

Mr. Wiercinski endured the abuse for  16 years because “he was 50 years old,” his lawyer said. “He said, ‘Who else is  going to hire a 50-year-old delivery man?’ He was afraid.”

The jury reached a verdict in just four hours after hearing much of the  testimony in Polish — used by many of the restaurant’s employees, the Post  reported.

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Filed under Employment Practices Liability, Labor Issues, Liability, Management And Ownership

Hospitality Industry Theft Risks: California Hotel Employee Arrested For Stealing $98,000 From Gift Shop

“…Police reported that a 51-year-old female employee at the Hotel Del Coronado embezzled an estimated $98,000 in cash and merchandise from Hotel Employee TheftThe Signature Shop, which sells apparel, gifts, wine and food…over a four-year period…”

An employee signed a confession to taking an estimated $49,000 in cash and $49,000 in merchandise from a gift shop at the Hotel Del Coronado, according to police.

Police said the employee had been taking money from the cash register while working at the hotel on the 1500 block of Orange Avenue over a four-year period from May 2009 to May 2013.

The loss was estimated at $49,000 in cash and another $49,000 in merchandise.

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Filed under Crime, Labor Issues, Management And Ownership, Theft

Hospitality Industry Insurance Issues: Employer Timeline For “Implementing The Affordable Care Act (ACA)”

Affordable Care Act Timeline

Affordable Care Act Timeline

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P3 Hospitality Industry Risk Report: “Globally Harmonized System (GHS)” By Petra Risk Solutions’ Director Of Risk Management Todd Seiders, CLSD

P3Petra Risk Solutions’ Director Of Risk Management, Todd Seiders, CLSD , offers a P3 Hospitality Risk Update – ‘Globally Harmonized System (GHS)’.

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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Filed under Guest Issues, Health, Injuries, Insurance, Labor Issues, Management And Ownership, Risk Management, Training

Hospitality Industry Risk Solutions: “Liability Insurance: An Essential Precaution” For Hotel And Restaurant Owners By

HospitalityLawyerOnce you have the proper coverage through a financially solvent company, ascertain that the amount of the coverage meets your needs.  To ensure that you fully understand how much you actually have for the entire period, it is critical that you become familiar with the following concepts and terms: per occurrence, aggregate and umbrella or excess insurance.

Hospitality Industry Liability Insurance CoverageYou must also be aware of “claims made” policies.  The term “claims made” means that the coverage is only available if an actual claim is brought to the attention of the insurance company during the policy period.  Usual insurance policies cover claims that occur during the policy period, although they are not brought to the attention of the insurance company until after the coverage period has elapsed.

When you buy liability coverage for your hotel or restaurant operation, you should receive a measure of protection and peace of mind, but for some reason you remain with that gnawing feeling that all may not be well with your insurance portfolio.  You think you did what you were supposed to do.  But did you?  Do you have enough insurance?  Do you have the right kind of coverage to cover possible accidents, incidents and catastrophes?  Employer’s liability?  Liquor liability?  Auto insurance for employees who drive a car on behalf of the business?  Do you know where your liability insurance policy is?  When was the last time you read it?  Do you understand the fine print?  Do you know who the underwriter is – not the agent, but the company that is supposed to pay in the event of a claim?  Do you know whether the insurance company is financially solvent?

Insurance Policy Coverage Checklist

1.  General Liability (fire and casualty for the premises and hotel operations)

2.  Employers Liability (discrimination claims)

3.  Workers’ Compensation (injury on the job)

4.  Liquor Liability (dram shop liability)

5.  Swimming Pool/Spa/Workout Area Addendums

6.  Golf Course Operators Liability

7.  Employee Security Bonds

8.  Automobile Liability (autos, motorized carts, shuttle service, etc.)

9.  Outdoor/Water Activity Coverage Addendum

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Hospitality Industry Safety Risks: New “Smartphone App” Searches Twitter To Identify “Possible Cases Of Restaurant Food Poisoning”; Results Correlated With “Scores From Health Department”

“…The app tags related users and follows that user around for 72 hours and analyzes their tweets for signs of food poisoning symptoms like Restaurant Food Poisoning Appsvomiting, abdominal pain, fever and chills. The system watches out for tweets that contain keywords like “threw up” and “tummy ache.”…In just four months, the nEmesis team was able to identify around 23,000 restaurant customers and detect around 480 possible cases of food poisoning. They then gave the restaurants a “health score” based on the number of incidents of people who became sick after eating there. The nEmesis team correlated their results with scores from the health department…”

Researchers at the University of Rochester developed an app called nEmesis that searches through Twitter and identifies possible cases of food poisoning. The app takes GPS data that is accessible via Twitter’s API and cross references that with the coordinates of restaurants.

One of the creators, Adam Sadilek, who now works at Google, sees the app as something that can help warn customers and as a potential tool for health officials to identify restaurants that may need to be looked into.

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Filed under Food Illnesses, Guest Issues, Health, Risk Management, Technology