Any uncertainty regarding the FCC’s position on hotels’ interference with Wi-Fi hot spots was answered yesterday. In its January 27, 2015 Enforcement Advisory, the FCC spoke directly to the “disturbing trend” of hotels and other commercial establishments that block personal Wi-Fi hot spots. This post brings us the latest development in Wi-Fi blocking practices. - Greg
Do you need to register or renew your trademark? Claire Hawkins, member of our IP & Technology and Hospitality, Travel & Tourism practice groups, shares the good news of reduced application fees being offered by the U.S. Trademark Office in 2015. Thank you for today’s post, Claire! – Greg
The latest skirmish between businesses and negative on-line reviewers resulted in a win for TripAdvisor. On December 30, 2014 an Oregon trial court ruled that Oregon’s Shield Law protects TripAdvisor from having to disclose the true identity of a poster on its on-line reviewing service. The Ashley Inn, from Lincoln City, sued TripAdvisor reviewer, “12Kelly,” who posted several scathing reviews about the Inn. The Ashley Inn sought to compel the identity of “12Kelly.” A Multnomah County circuit judge refused to do so by applying Oregon’s Media Shield Law, ORS 44.520. That statute protects a reporter from having to disclose the source for information used to prepare a news report. The court found that the Shield Law protected TripAdvisor because it is a “medium of communication.” Hence, TripAdvisor did not have to disclose the identity of its “source” - “12Kelly.”
This blog post discusses how the recent Supreme Court ruling, Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk, may impact potential employee wage and hour claims for hourly employees in the future. – Greg
Jared Van Kirk is a member of Garvey Schubert Barer’s Labor, Employment & Immigration group and a previous blog contributor. Jared has been following how legalized recreational marijuana in Washington affects all employers and how the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) will regulate marijuana consumption in premises holding liquor licenses, which will have a direct impact on the hospitality industry in Washington State. Jared is also a member of Garvey Schubert Barer’s Cannabis group and has been involved in opposing challenges to Washington’s recreational marijuana laws. Thank you, Jared, for sharing this very important update. – Greg
This week finds me at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles attending this year's PhoCusWright Conference. Those in the hotel industry know LA live well - for the past few years the JW Marriott at LA Live has served as the host hotel for the industry's annual ALIS Conference. While ALIS is known for bringing together the hotel industry's best and brightest, I would submit that the 1600 plus attendees (from 40 plus countries) at this year's PhocusWright represent the future of travel and the hotel industry.
I’m pleased to introduce guest author, Nick Montera, Vice President, Account Executive and head of the hospitality practice at Parker, Smith & Feek. PS&F is an insurance and risk management brokerage firm headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, providing innovative insurance solutions to clients nationwide. We appreciate Nick sharing his expertise and insights on this important and timely subject. - Greg Duff
Marriott International, Inc. found out the expensive way that it should not disable customers’ mobile hotspots. It entered a Consent Decree with the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) in which it agreed to pay $600,000 to the U.S. Treasury.
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.
California employers are currently scratching their heads over how to interpret “suitable seating” that is required under California Wage Orders. Nancy Cooper, member of our Labor and Employment Group and Hospitality, Travel and Tourism practice team, discusses how that term is defined will affect your business. Thank you for today’s post, Nancy! - Greg
Greg Duff founded and chairs Foster Garvey’s national Hospitality, Travel & Tourism group. His practice largely focuses on operations-oriented matters faced by hospitality industry members, including sales and marketing, distribution and e-commerce, procurement and technology. Greg also serves as counsel and legal advisor to many of the hospitality industry’s associations and trade groups, including AH&LA, HFTP and HSMAI.