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Legal Issues in Hospitality Management

Introduction

With an escalating economic development in the hospitality industry, many hotels have sprung up owing to favorable legislation and availability of investors who are willing and able to undertake mega projects in the hospitality industry. As a result, many classy hotels have been built due to dynamic changes in customer’s wants and preferences. It has been further boosted by an increase in the number of tourists visiting the country, as well as the need to host international conferences in the country. Many laws have been proposed and amended by the legislature in the industry and some of them have been seen as oppressive in nature. Their aim is viewed as the one far from promoting the hospitality industry. Hospitality law is the one relating to the logging industry, travel, and food service. It refers to social and legal practices in relation to treatment of a guest and their luggage. Hospitality laws range from customer handling to customers’ food services and work environment (Rosello, 2001). The current paper seeks to outline and explain laws that apply in the hospitality industry and provide an analysis of the specific law in human resource management operation.    

The Following Apply in the Hospitality Industry

The Food and Drinks Act law requires all investors in the hospitality industry to abide by regulations in terms of food preparation, food composition, food additives, hygiene, and cleanness of the food items. Additionally, the laws require all hospitality investors to sell only drinks approved by the health sector as fit for consumption. This law is aimed at protecting customers from consumption of harmful food and drinks that would result in severe health complications. This act further intends to promote authorized food stuff, as well as drinks to be sold within a particular area or a region to ensure that what is available for the public consumption is tested and proven to be safe and that all requirements have been dully adhered to. These laws take into account the level of cleanliness in food preparation and food serving equipment.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act is aimed at ensuring health safety of employees in their line of duty at any given time in relation to assigned activity undertaken. The goal of this law is to protect employees from neglect by the company’s administration in case of injury sustained while in the course of duty. Additionally, it requires all investors in the hospitality industry to observe safety precaution measures such as installation of fire extinguishers, availing of first aid kits, and construction of exits doors for emergency purposes. The safety act goes further to ensure that before the operation license is given, a proper safety requirement in terms of the building design is complied with and it actually meets required standards to avoid accidents occurring due to a weakness in the building construction.

The Liquor Control Act requires all investors in the hospitality industry that wish to sell alcohol beverages of any kind within their premises to apply for liquor licenes issued by the state liquor control organization. It requires the organization only to sell alcohol at the designated time provided under the law. The certificate is often renewable after duration of one year and the organization must work strictly within stipulated rules and regulations contained therein. In case of a failure to do that, the organization shall be liable for a stated amount of fine or face a risk of being closed down (Nickson, 2007). The Liquor Control Act is aimed at promoting responsible drinking to prevent disorders in the hotel. The act also tries to fight cases of unlawful drinking by the general public to avoid cases of public nuisance during morning hours when citizens should be economically active.

The Anti-discrimination Act relates to both racial and disability discrimination of customers. It aims to protect individuals from being discriminated based on race, religion, gender, age, or disability of any kind. The main objective of this law is to ensure equitable service provision to all customers. The Anti-discriminatory Act provides neutral grounds for everyone so that every customer can feel worthy to the business. Thus, it aims to bring people with different social and economic backgrounds together (Barth & Hayes, 2006). Additionally, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title III concerns how a building is designed to provide accessibility to an individual with a disability so that it is aimed at protecting individuals with disabilities in terms of granting them access to any public facility. This law further requires investors in the hospitality industry to ensure that their building is easily accessible by individuals with disabilities through main entry points and that, in case it has stairs, there is a section of the building that has wheelchair ramps to provide for easy accessibility by such individuals.

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The Compensation Act requires all investors in the hospitality industry to compensate employees for injuries sustained while driving to or from work or sustained during work. Additionally, it requires the hospitality industry objects to have insurance that will cover for employees’ expenses and cost in case of an injury. The law aims to protect employees from neglect in the event that the injury sustained in the normal course of duty results in such disability as amputation of legs or hands. Then, employees are liable for a prompt compensation by the hotel management (Nickson, 2007). Moreover, the Compensation Act intends to protect employees and their dependents from severe suffering due to the lack of compensation in case of the loss of a bread winner of the family.

The Smoke-free Environment Act regulations have been adopted to protect nonsmokers from being passive smokers in public places. It further requires that smokers in hotels are allocated a designated area where they converge to smoke away from the general public and the said area should be labeled. This act is aimed at encouraging ethical smoking within the public domain since a hotel can be used for public gathering and not everyone is comfortable with smoke fumes in their environment since it may cause health complications to innocent parties.

The Data Protection Act aims to protect personal details of customers from being stolen by the third party for the purpose of enriching themselves or stealing from customers by learning or sharing private information with other individuals. This law further puts a fine for a breach of personal information that is shared with the third party without the prior consent and request of the customer. Such details are primary meant for regular payments and not any other activities in the hotel.

Analysis of the Specific Law to Human Resource Management Operation

The human resource management operation refers to how the work is performed in terms of the number of required personnel to undertake a given task. Human resource operation involves how the work is carried out within the department. Subsequently, it ensures that the hospitality organization is not short of employees to ensure operation of the business. Normally, it is a responsibility of the HR department to hire employees, as well as carry out interviews with would-be employees. It also involves maintenance of human resource management systems, their regular updates, and control over the employees’ payroll department (Goodwin & Gaston, 2007)

The law requires the human resource specialists to remunerate employees in the hospitality industry fairly and justly. The main objective is to provide fair remuneration based on the number of hours worked (Harris & Hazzard, 1992).

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The anti-discriminatory law makes the organization’s human resource operation face a dilemma in terms of what they deem profitable enough for the organization and what clients they should serve. This is always a dilemma as they might deny a chance to give more attention to the promising profit accounts that will bring a huge economic value to the organization.

The labor law requires that the hospitality industry does not to overwork employees and that they should observe the Regulation of Labor Act to avoid unfair dismissal from work. Human resource management operation sometimes faces difficulties with making decisions to dismiss employees. However, according to this policy, the human resource department is always required to make an informed decision based on facts and not rumors (Rosello, 2001).

Conclusion

Understanding the legal nature of the hospitality industry is quite important to both investors and the management in charge of the operation of the business. Firstly, the main purpose of following all applicable laws is to avoid legal tussle that might await the organization in a court. Secondly, it gives the management a chance to learn and understand the legal environment that the business operates in to avoid huge fines that are sometimes avoidable, as well as eliminating the threat of closure of the business. These laws and policies enable the management to adhere to the Labor Regulation Act and offer employees a chance to get fair remuneration in terms of salary payment. It further gives employees a chance for a fair compensation in case they sustain an injury while on duty.

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