Tag Archives: Punitive Damages

Hospitality Industry Legal Update: “Are You Breaking the Law by Recording Calls?”

“Regardless of the content of the call, hoteliers should be ensuring that they are using automatic disclosures—in order to obtain consumer consenthotel-phone—if using an automatic recording system. If an operator becomes the target of one of these consumer privacy class actions, taking an aggressive approach and attacking these claims as incongruent with the legislative purpose and intent behind the respective statute is a recommended.”

In the past few years, class action plaintiffs have recovered billions of dollars in punitive damages by exploiting strict liability laws that punish businesses for failing to properly notify customers when a phone call is being recorded.

Under the Federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act and similar state statutes, businesses including hotels are prohibited from using certain tactics when telemarketing or making calls to solicit potential guests or customers. Hotels and other businesses are precluded from making calls or using any kind of prerecorded message, unless the caller has obtained a recipient’s prior express consent in writing or electronically.

Additionally, hoteliers are prohibited from making calls to residences before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m., and a future hotel guest calling to confirm a reservation also must be notified if the call is recorded. Hence, under these laws, if a hotel receptionist in Montana receives a call from a California resident to confirm a reservation but never notifies the recipient that the call is being recorded, it could result in damages ranging from $500 to $5,000 per call under federal and state laws.

This seemingly innocuous business practice of recording customer service calls without providing some variation of the oft-heard disclosure, “This call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes” has the potential to financially cripple a business.

For more: http://bit.ly/1CBRlu6

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Filed under Crime, Employee Practices, Guest Issues, Hotel Employees, Hotel Industry, Liability, Management And Ownership, Technology, Training

Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: Hotel Management Must Evaluate And Prepare For Potential “Punitive Damage Claims” In Lawsuits Arising From Privacy, Over Service Of Alcohol And Criminal Actions Of Employees

“…the No. 1 priority is effective case evaluation and resolution. Early factual investigation is critical in determining what happened, why it happened and who was involved. Knowing and preserving the correct version of facts and events with effective reporting mechanisms is essential Hospitality Industry Lawsuitto knowing what kind of claim possibly can be presented and what kind of exposure exists…”

“…it is critical to evaluate the potential punitive exposure early and assess the potential for a punitive claim to get to a jury. Always consider the risk that punitive damages may get to a jury, how a jury will receive the evidence and whether your hotel could be punished by a jury that is attempting to make a statement that these incidents will not be tolerated…”

Hoteliers may face the problematic public-relations case that contains a punitive damages claim. These claims include: invasion of privacy, inappropriate surveillance, over service of alcohol, and criminal actions of employees and third parties. These cases are difficult for members of the hospitality industry who pride themselves on showing customers a positive experience, want good feedback and want customers to return to their hotel.

Securing and preserving evidence, which includes photographs, videos, an accident report, incident statement and/or witness statements must be undertaken to document what the incident involves. If photographs and videos are not preserved once a hotel has notice of a claim, a court could instruct the jury that they can infer the hotel destroyed the evidence for a reason. It is critical to use technology to best find and preserve evidence. No potential accident can be overlooked as a hospitality group never knows what accidents can turn into a possible lawsuit.

For more:  http://www.hotelnewsnow.com/Articles.aspx/10625/How-to-respond-to-punitive-damages-claims

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Filed under Claims, Employment Practices Liability, Guest Issues, Insurance, Labor Issues, Liability, Management And Ownership, Risk Management