Thursday, July 25, 2013

Social Media and Trade Secrets (Michael Elkon, Fisher & Phillips)

Most employers are well aware of the various implications that the social media explosion has on the workplace. The various issues created by Facebook, LinkedIn, and other similar platforms lead to constant requests for input by management-side employment lawyers. Likewise, employers – especially those in industries with a heavy emphasis on relationships or research and development – are also focused on protection of their trade secrets and other confidential information. But the intersection between social media and trade-secret protection represents a new frontier – one with relatively little case law, but with substantial implications. Read More!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Handling Misconduct by (Someone Else's) Employees (Ed Harold, Fisher & Phillips)

In “Legally Blonde,” Reese Witherspoon’s hairdresser catches the eye of her crush, the sexy delivery driver. In spite of starting with an awkward misfire with the hairdresser smacking the delivery driver in the nose, the plan ultimately works and the two are seen together as a happy couple by the end of the movie. Unfortunately, in the real world, relationships between employees and vendors can result in legal liability much the same way as relationships between coworkers. Happy couples become unhappy couples creating an environment ripe for bickering, gossip, and harassment.

Vendor’s employees also present risks in arenas outside of harassment. Any type of misconduct in which they engage, whether theft, threats of violence, or simply not doing their jobs to the expected level, must be addressed.  Retail managers do not have the time and labor to go behind vendor employees and restock a poorly stocked shelf. They cannot ignore shoplifting by vendors any more than they can ignore shoplifting by customers. Likewise, any sort of threat of harm requires action to prevent a workplace violence incident. Read More!

3rd Global Congress on Travel Risk Management

If you are directly or indirectly responsible for the safety and security of mobile employees and/or data, you cannot afford to miss the Global Congress on Travel Risk Management. Check out our new blog page for GC 2013! We'll see you from September 30 to October 1 at the Omni Houston Hotel, in the beautiful Post Oak district of Houston, Texas!

Hotels.com Global Hotel Amenities Survey 2013

In Case You Missed It:   Hotels.com released an infographic highlighting the results of its most recent survey on which amenities travelers want most from hotels.  Those of you involved in loss prevention should pay special attention to the section about hotel theft. Read More!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Court Upholds Management Deal with Union on Hotel Operations

In an important decision upholding the right of hotels to make pragmatic agreements with unions on hotel operations, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed a claim brought by banquet servers at the St. Regis New York who had claimed that assigning certain banquet-like events to restaurant waitstaff and room service servers violated their contract rights. In granting dismissal, the court upheld the right of hotels and unions to reach private, special purpose agreements allocating work opportunities to different job classifications without fear that disfavored employee groups could sue for breach of the underlying labor agreement. Read More!

Keeping Your Students Safe From Child Abductions (Celia Joseph, Fisher & Phillips)

A loud, beeping Amber Alert and accompanying visual banner filled the homes and screens of area television viewers on the evening of January 14, 2013, announcing the abduction of a five-year-old student from a Philadelphia elementary public school at 8:50 a.m. that morning.

According to media reports, the child was dropped off at school by her mother. A short time later, a woman wearing what was described as Muslim garb, with her face covered, entered the school office, scribbled her name on a sign-in sheet but did not show any identification. The woman told school representatives that she was the child's mother and wanted to take her daughter out for breakfast. The woman then was allowed to enter the child's classroom, where she asked for the girl by name.

The substitute teacher in charge of the room released the child to the woman, who then took the child from the school. It was later learned that the woman who picked up the child was not the child’s mother. Early the following morning the child was found alone in a neighborhood playground outside of Philadelphia, hiding under the bleachers. The child was brought to the hospital and then released. Read More!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

4 Best Practices for Food and Beverage Operators

By Stephen Barth, Founder, HospitalityLawyer.com

I’ve been noticing some trends in the feedback I hear from both food and beverage operators and the customers they serve. The operators know what works, and the customers know what they like. If you’re involved in the food and beverage business, I encourage you to review and consider the following best practices:

  1. In addition to your traditional serving sizes, offer and price individual two- or three-ounce servings of beer, wine, and liquor (local and state laws permitting). Customers enjoy sampling different brands while also consuming alcohol responsibly.

  2. Serve and price sampler-size desserts.  Again, customers want variety, but also need to feel as though they are making a semi-healthy choice.

  3. Write down your daily/weekly specials in a location visible from the table (or leave a printed version at the table), and don’t forget to include the prices. A server’s description of specials can be helpful if executed correctly, but that doesn’t happen as often as you would think. Customers have trouble remembering the descriptions—including the prices—which often discourages them from selecting a special. Bottom line:  If you want a special to sell, write it down and price it.

  4. Make it a policy that customers must guarantee reservations with a credit card. When people with reservations neither cancel nor show up, this causes a severe disruption in the reservation process and significant inconvenience for other customers. Create a clear cancellation policy and establish a fair price if a reservation is not cancelled in accordance with the policy; variables to consider when choosing an amount might include contribution margin, size of the reservation party, etc. In the spirit of aboveboard business practices, only charge if you cannot fill the reservation after making a sincere attempt to replace the cancellation. If operators adopt this approach, reservation processes will become much more efficient and wait lists will become more useful and popular.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hospitality Law Insider #1: Be Careful How Much You Serve!

Stephen Barth, Founder of HospitalityLawyer.com, covers the perils of loosely-regulated alcohol service at bars and restaurants in the first episode of Hospitality Law Insider.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Curbing Abuse of Intermittent FMLA Leave (Cynthia Blevins Doll, Fisher & Phillips)

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows employees to take 12 weeks of leave for their own or a family member’s serious health condition and up to 26 weeks for military caregiver leave. The leave can be taken in one block, over several stretches of time or intermittently. To take intermittent leave, the employee need only provide a certification that there is a medical need for such leave. 

While longer FMLA leaves are relatively straightforward, an employee’s ability to take small increments of FMLA leave sporadically generates administrative headaches for employers and raises concerns about employee abuse of intermittent leave. The FMLA offers a number of tools – many of which are not widely employed – that you can use to discourage abuse of intermittent leave. Here are eight of the best strategies for getting a handle on this troubling problem. Read More!