Category Archives: Employment Practices Liability

Hospitality Industry Legal Update: “Lawsuits to Recover Unpaid Wages and Damages For 89 Workers at Five Hotels Filed by US Labor Department”

“…Investigators from the division’s Columbus District Office found violations of the FLSA’s minimum wage, overtime and record keeping provisions for 61 workers jointly employed by Darpan Management and Fantastic Cleaning. Fantastic Cleaning, which provided housekeepers, attendants and laundry DOL staff for the hotels owned and operated by Darpan Management, misclassified the housekeepers, who were employees, as independent contractors. These employees were paid by the room and frequently did not earn enough to make the federal minimum wage…”

The U.S. Department of Labor has filed two lawsuits in the federal district court in Columbus against Darpan Management Inc.; five hotels the company owns and manages; and its owners, Darshan Shah, Vibhakar Shah and Prakash Patel.

One of the lawsuits addresses violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage and overtime provisions for the hotel staff directly working for Darpan Management, and the other addresses similar violations for workers jointly employed by Fantastic Cleaning Ltd., a company that provided hotel staff to Darpan Management. The two lawsuits seek back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages for 89 workers.

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P3 Hospitality Industry Risk Report: “Reasonable Suspicion for Alcohol and Drug Testing for Employees” Presented by Loss Control Manager Matt Karp of Petra Risk Solutions (VIDEO)

Petra Risk Solutions’ Loss Control Manager, Matt Karp, offers a P3 Hospitality Risk Report – ‘Reasonable Suspicion for Alcohol and Drug Testing for Employees’. 

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 Legal Update: “Va. AG Sues Richmond Magnuson Grand Hotel”

“Virginia consumers have every right to expect that agreements will be honored when it comes time for delivery of goods and services,” Herring said.Richmond-Magnuson-Grand “I will not tolerate businesses that misrepresent themselves or mislead customers and my office is absolutely committed to protecting Virginia consumers from such practices.”

RICHMOND, Va. (Legal Newsline) – Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced a lawsuit on Friday against the operator of a Henrico County hotel for allegedly violating the Virginia Consumer Protection Act and the state’s bait and switch statute.

GRM Management LLC, the operator of the Richmond Magnuson Grand Hotel and Convention Center, allegedly offered and confirmed room rates for one price but overcharged customers upon check-in or told them their requested room was unavailable.

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Hospitality Industry Employment Practices Update: “The Hotel Industry Needs To Stop Trying To Please Their Customers!”

“…There is less of an attachment of what’s in it for me when you’re primarily focused on making somebody feel good about themselves, versus trying to please them. customer serviceThe motivation and incentives have to be on a much higher level when you are positioning people in your organization to attempt to please your customers, versus when you have your organization focus on making their customers feel good about themselves through their interactions with the guests…”

If they truly want their customers to be pleased by their hotels’ brand experience.

As I just talked about in my recent three-part article series, which focused on creating a new strategy for enhancing the hotels’ business model performance by decoding the hotel guest experience, I wrote about this crazy notion in part three of the series. (It’s really not about trying to please customers, per se. It’s really more about making them feel good about themselves while they are experiencing your hotel’s brand of hospitality offerings.)

You are really not there to please your customers, as crazy as that may sound. Businesses that make their customers feel good about themselves as a result of their business experience offering don’t have to play that inauthentic game of trying to please people, or try to inspire and motivate their organization to do so either. They are more focused on strategically creating and managing a business experience that generates a strong emotional connection with their customers that fosters positive memories from all the different attributes and qualities of the business experience.

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January 20, 2014 · 9:43 am

Hospitality Industry Food Safety Update: “Under New Food Safety Law, Bartenders Have to Wear Gloves”

“…In an effort to educate restaurant operators and health inspectors, the law will undergo a “soft roll-out” during the next six months to a year,Image according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. No points will be deducted when food handlers are not wearing gloves, but restaurant operators will receive a warning instead…”

Chefs aren’t the only ones affected by a new food safety law that bans culinary workers from touching certain foods with their bare hands. Like chefs, bartenders have to wear gloves or use other utensils to make their drinks. No touching ice, fruit garnishes or anything else that goes directly into your glass.

Changes to the California Retail Food Code that went into effect at the beginning of 2014 require disposable gloves or utensils such as tongs, paper or scoops to be used when handling “ready-to-eat” foods, which include sushi, bread, deli meats and fresh fruit and vegetables. Basically, nothing that won’t be cooked or reheated before it goes out to diners can be touched with bare hands.

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Hospitality Industry Risk Solutions: “2014 Hospitality Insurance & Loss Prevention Summit” On February 10 Presented By Petra Risk Solutions

Hospitality Insurance & Loss Prevention Summit Feb 10 2014 Petra Risk Solutions



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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: Pennsylvania Hotel Faces Federal “Sexual Harassment And Retaliation” Lawsuit; Woman Terminated After Making Written And Verbal Complaints

“…the hotel’s assistant manager, told the plaintiff that (the defendant) was telling others that he possessed nude photographs of Vazquez, Hospitality Industry Sexual Harassment Lawsuitssomething the woman denied…(she) met with the hotel’s manager (and asst. manager) in the spring of 2012 to discuss the situation…Vazquez subsequently offered the human resources department a written statement about the harassing conduct…Two days after she submitted her statement, the plaintiff was placed on a five-day suspension…Vazquez was told she was being suspended for voiding a transaction at the front desk when her cash drawer was short, even though the plaintiff claims she was taught to do just that in such a situation when she first started working for the defendant…After returning from her suspension on May 16, 2012, the plaintiff was immediately fired from her job…”

A Philadelphia woman who worked as a front desk agent for the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel has filed a federal civil action against the business contending she was fired in retaliation for speaking out about harassing conduct on the part of another worker.

Crystal Vazquez, who was first hired by the defendant in May 2010, maintains that her firing exactly two years later was retribution for the plaintiff complaining about sexual harassment by the hotel’s AT&T specialist, a man identified in the complaint as Ryan Sheridan. Sheridan, who is not listed as a defendant in the litigation, allegedly told hotel employees that he and the plaintiff had been sexually intimate.

Vazquez was out on maternity leave in late December 2011, which is when Sheridan was allegedly making the comments about the supposed intimate nature of his relationship with the plaintiff, the lawsuit states.

“Needless to say, Plaintiff’s termination was a direct result of her complaints regarding sexual harassment,” the complaint reads. The lawsuit accuses the hotel of violating the Civil Rights Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: California Restaurant Ordered To Pay $5.68 Million In “Age Discrimination” Lawsuit; Acted With “Fraud & Malice” After Terminating Four “Older” Women

“…a second phase of trial the same day, the jury added a combined total of $4 million in punitive damages after finding that the restaurant Hospitality Industry Discrimination Lawsuitsacted with fraud, oppression and/or malice after terminating all four, then replacing them within a short time with younger women in their 20s…the restaurant was advertising for the plaintiffs’ replacements even after promising them that their minimum-wage jobs were safe, according to their attorney…”

Four former servers at a Woodland Hills restaurant were collectively awarded $5.68 million in a lawsuit alleging they were laid off from their jobs because of their ages. The plaintiffs, Martha Aboulafia, 61, Cheryl B. Colgin, 61, Regina Greene, 49, and Patricia Monica, 70, had a combined 47 years of service at Cable’s Restaurant at 20929 Ventura Blvd. All were let go by the restaurant’s new owner in 2010, according to trial testimony.

The women sued Cable’s and its owners, GACN Inc., in Los Angeles Superior Court in September 2011, alleging age discrimination and wrongful termination. On Dec. 17, a jury deliberated for less than two hours before unanimously awarding a combined $1.68 million in compensatory damages to the women for lost wages and emotional distress.

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Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: North Carolina Restaurant Settles EEOC “Religious Discrimination” Lawsuit For $40,000; Veteran Female Worker Fired For “Refusing To Wear Pants To Work”

The EEOC’s complaint alleged that the  companies informed Silver she must wear pants to work because of their dress  code policy.  According to Equal Employment Opportunity Commissionthe EEOC,  Silver told Scottish Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take Home she could not  wear pants because of her religious beliefs.   However, the companies ultimately fired her for refusing to wear pants  to work.

Scottish Food Systems,  Inc. and Laurinburg KFC Take Home, Inc. will pay $40,000 and furnish other  relief to resolve a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal  Employment Opportunity Com­mission (EEOC), the agency announced today.  Scottish Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take  Home are based in Laurinburg, N.C.  and  jointly operate a chain of Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in North  Carolina.

According to the EEOC’s complaint, Sheila  Silver converted to Pentecostalism in 2010.   As a member of the Pentecostal church, Silver believes women cannot wear  pants.  In accordance with this religious  belief, Silver has not worn pants since the fall of 2010.  Silver has 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 Rocky Mount, N.C., in April 2013.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil  Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which requires employers to reasonably  accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs as long as doing so would not pose  an undue hardship.  The EEOC filed suit on  September 19, 2013 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North  Carolina (EEOC v. Scottish Food Systems,  Inc. and Laurinburg KFC Take Home, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:13-CV-00796)  after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its  conciliation process.

In  addition to monetary damages, the three-year consent decree resolving the suit  requires Scottish Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take Home to adopt a formal  religious accommodation policy and to conduct an annual training program on the  requirements of Title VII and its prohibition against religious discrimination.  Scottish Food Systems and Laurinburg KFC Take  Home will also post a copy of their anti-discrimination policy at all of their  facilities.

“Employers  must accommodate an employee’s sincerely held religious belief when such an  accommodation would not pose an undue hardship,” said  Lynette A. Barnes, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Charlotte District  Office.  “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

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Hospitality Industry Employment Risks: California Restaurant Group Settles “Religious Discrimination” Lawsuit With EEOC For $50,000; Trainer Fired For Growing Beard

“…The EEOC had charged that a restaurant formerly owned by McDonald’s in Fresno refused a request from a Muslim employee, a crew trainer, Equal Employment Opportunity Commissionto grow a beard for religious reasons which lead to his constructive discharge in September 2005…Aside from the monetary relief for the crew trainer, the two-year consent decree settling the suit provides that McDonald’s will reinforce training of its managers and staff and redistribute its existing policies related to religious discrimination and accommodation…”

McDonald’s Restaurants of California, Inc. will pay $50,000 and furnish other relief to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which requires that employers make reasonable accommodations to the sincerely held religious beliefs of employees and applicants as long as this causes no harm to the business.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California (EEOC v. McDonald’s Restaurants of California, Inc., Case No. 1:13-cv-02065AWI-SAB) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

“We commend McDonald’s for its commitment to training and ensuring that its staff and managers are well-versed on laws relating to religious discrimination,” said Anna Y. Park, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Los Angeles District Office.  “We hope other employers follow McDonald’s lead in promoting training and development of extensive anti-discrimination policies.”

Melissa Barrios, director of the EEOC’s Fresno Local Office, said, “Workers have the right to request an accommodation which would allow them to work while still practicing their religious beliefs.  Employers must consider such requests and ensure that no negative actions are taken against workers who exercise this right.”

The EEOC is the federal agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at

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