Category Archives: Privacy

Hospitality Industry Management Update: “What You Should Know Before Monitoring Your Employees and Guests”

There are many legitimate reasons for an employer to monitor spaces at the workplace, in fact, the law might require the employer to do so in some situations.monitoring employees However, surveillance is a sensitive subject and employers have good reason to be cautious. As always, employers should consult competent legal counsel before implementing any workplace surveillance program.

Employees can make or break businesses in the service industry. While customer service oriented employees create a luxurious experience at a lesser establishment, employees that don’t prioritize customer service can ruin a guest’s experience even at the most finely-appointed hotel.

However, managers and supervisors cannot always be present to recognize and reward desirable service practices, nor can they always be present identify and correct poor practices. With so many points of customer and employee interaction, surveillance is one of the most effective methods to safeguard employee safety and integrity, review employee performance, identify training points, and document “HR issues.” Of course, too much of a good thing can be a problem.

Employers must understand the difference between valid surveillance and illegal intrusions on privacy rights before taking advantage of video/audio recordings. This article aims to help employers stay on the right side of that fence.

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Filed under Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership, Privacy, Technology

Hospitality Industry Legal Update: “Guest Room Privacy and the Fourth Amendment”

In order to create and follow an eviction policy that promotes compliance with the Fourth Amendment, a hotel should identify behaviors that justify eviction.  This requires consultation of the law, including any statutes that govern hotel policies.cop car  The hotel should then train its staff to recognize and respond to behavior that triggers eviction.  A hotel should also provide guests with its eviction policy or communicate in some way the types of behavior that could trigger an eviction.  Finally, in the event of an eviction, the hotel must take steps to communicate to the guest that he or she is being evicted.

Hotels are faced with a delicate balancing act when it comes to maintaining guest privacy.  Hotel staff must comply with police investigations when noncompliance would constitute obstruction of justice.  At the same time, hotel employees must recognize their guests’ Fourth Amendment right to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures.  If hotel employees comply with an unreasonable search or seizure that results in harm to the guest, the hotel could find itself exposed to civil liability.

Courts have recognized that the Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable searches and seizures applies to searches and seizures in hotel and motel rooms.  Certain exceptions allow for warrantless searches and seizures, including consent.  In broad terms, the consent exception means that a party’s agreement, actual or implied to a search and/or seizure renders a warrant unnecessary.

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Filed under Employee Practices, Guest Issues, Hotel Industry, Management And Ownership, Privacy, Risk Management

Hospitality Industry Security Update: “Secret Service Warns Hotels of Data Theft”

“…Given that users at hotels use public computers to check email, print boarding passes, pay for travel arrangements and download private business information,SecretService it’s not too hard to imagine what an imaginative hacker could do with this information. Worse still, there isn’t much that even a savvy hotel operator can do to prevent this misuse…”

The Secret Service has confirmed what you’ve probably suspected for a long time: Public computers at hotels are ridiculously insecure, and you’re taking a gamble with your personal data each time you use one.

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Filed under Crime, Guest Issues, Hotel Industry, Maintenance, Management And Ownership, Privacy, Technology, Theft

Hospitality Industry Guest Issues: “Operator Of ‘Mobile ID Theft Lab’ Sentenced To Prison For Bank Fraud And Aggravated Identity Theft”

“…In asking for a lengthy prison sentence, prosecutors noted that Suryan’s operation not only enriched him, but also helped thieves and burglars profit from the information they stole.  Suryan ‘served as a lynchpin of identity theft activity in Snohomish County in the latter half of 2012;Image the forgery service provided by the defendant helped incentivize countless break-ins of mailboxes, homes, and vehicles by criminals searching for victim data…”

The man who forged multiple ID documents and financial documents for mail thieves in Snohomish County was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 65 months in prison, five years of supervised release and $59,177 in restitution, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.  MICHAEL JOHN SURYAN, 54, formerly of Everett, Washington was arrested in January 2013, in a Shoreline, Washington motel where he had set up a mobile identity manufacturing operation.

Using documents his co-schemers stole from burglaries, mail thefts and car prowls, SURYAN manufactured fake IDs, and forged checks with the co-schemers listed as the payees.  A search of the room revealed more than 50 fake Washington State driver’s licenses, handwritten notes listing the names, addresses and personal information (including dates of birth, social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and credit card or checking account information) for numerous victims.

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Hospitality Industry Risk Management Update: “Stamford Hotel Worker Arrested for Sexually Assaulting Guest”

“…Police say that Oyola-Bandara knocked on the woman’s door at the Super 8 motel at 32 Grenhart Road at about 3:30 a.m. and told the woman, who has been a resident of the motel for some time, that he is there to fix something. ImageThe woman recognized the man as a hotel worker and let him in. Oyola-Bandara then pulled out a bottle of liquor and put two glasses on the table and began pouring the liquor into the glasses…”

A West Side hotel maintenance worker who talked his way into a 60-year-old woman’s room early Saturday morning and tried to force himself on her was arrested after police found the man asleep in the woman’s hotel room.

Carlos Oyola-Bandera, 35, of 501 West Main St., Stamford, was charged with attempted rape, unlawful restraint, criminal trespass, fourth-degree sexual assault and breach of peace. He was held over the weekend by police in lieu of a $50,000 court appearance bond and is being arraigned at the Stamford courthouse Monday.

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Filed under Claims, Crime, Guest Issues, Hotel Industry, Liability, Management And Ownership, Privacy, Risk Management

Hospitality Industry Technology Update: “How To Avoid Data Theft When Using Public Wi-Fi”

“…’The proliferation of public Wi-Fi is one of the biggest threats to consumer data,’…’A hacker can monitor the network traffic of an entire store with an iPad-sized device hidden away in his backpack.’Image The issue isn’t just that the networks are so easy to attack. With little public awareness that the threat even exists, users routinely expose valuable personal data over Wi-Fi hotspots, making the networks an even more attractive target…”

Each week seems to bring news of yet another security breach that puts our personal information into the hands of hackers. The username and password theft here at, the hack of Kickstarter users’ contact info, and of course, the massive data breach at Target are just a few examples highlighting the ongoing battle for data security. But the recent emphasis on data theft from websites and retailers makes it all too easy to lose sight of an even more prevalent security and privacy disaster: the public Wi-Fi networks that we eagerly seek out in coffee shops, hotel rooms and airports.

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Hospitality Industry Legal Update: “Plaza Hotel Using Noise as Legal Reason to Remove Bike-Share Rake”

“…Steven Sladkus, attorney for the luxury hotel and condos, told The Post when he first filed the case last fall, Image “The public should enjoy unobstructed or unblemished landmarks. This isn’t just for the ‘wealthy’ in The Plaza. This is for the benefit of everyone. Don’t mar it.” He declined to comment on the city’s response…”

A city attorney blasted The Plaza hotel for using “red herrings” such as traffic, noise and historical import in its legal quest to remove a bulky bike-share rack near its entrance.

“It is clear that this proceeding is motivated instead purely by The Plaza hotel’s aesthetic concerns,” Nicholas Ciappetta, a lawyer for the city, said in a Jan. 28 court filing revealed Tuesday. “In other words, The Plaza hotel does not want the station anywhere in its vicinity,” Ciappetta added, asking a judge to toss the “meritless” case.

Ciappetta called the high-priced hotel “self-serving” for trying to oust one of the city’s most popular kiosks.

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