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Hospitality Law On Privacy And Protection Of Guests

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HF250 A2

Jared Ko


• You should have an explanation of the duty of care that is owed by a hotel to a guest and to give some examples and some references to some cases with different fact patterns.

-Hospitality organizations have a duty of “reasonable care” to protect guests, which depend on the facts and circumstances. If a hotel elevator fell and injured a guest, the hotel would be liable for his or her injuries since it can be seen that the hotel was negligent since the hotel could have performed better maintenance on their elevators to prevent such incidents from happening. Hotels have the duty to have secure room doors that cannot be accessed to bystanders and to have security cameras in public areas such as lobbies or in places where crime can occur such as in hallways and car parks. Some more detailed examples concerning a hotel’s duty of care for the protection of its guests include hiring properly trained security guards who can effectively protect the hotel’s guests if they were under assault or to supply a competent and not an inexperienced person to administer medical aid to a guest who needs it. There are other times when an employee is at fault, for example, there was a case where a hotel clerk gave a guest the wrong room key, which resulted in the guest getting shot in the chest by the guest already occupying the room. The employer would be held liable for this incident from the doctrine of respondeat superior, which holds the employer liable for any wrongful acts done by the employee. An employee is also permitted from announcing a guest’s room number; preventing bystanders from following a guest up to his or her room. (give examples) However, there are times when hotels cannot guarantee or be the insurer that nothing will happen to a guest.

For example, when a guest becomes injured in a hotel’s recreational and fitness facility by pulling a muscle by lifting a weight that is too heavy or getting a heart attack from overtraining on the treadmill, it is the guest who may have contributed to his or her injuries and not the hotel who is liable. (give examples) Hence, the hotel is generally not liable for acts that it could not foresee. If a hotel is sued, it must determine whether the plaintiff displayed contributory negligence or whether the plaintiff knew that there would be an assumption of a known risk before performing the act which caused his or her harm.

• You should also explain what a guest’s right to privacy is in a hotel and to give an explanation and examples of what the hotel must do and not do to protect the privacy rights of the guest. (Refer the Chapter 7 and Chapter 10)

A Guest’s Right To Privacy

-A hotel has an affirmative duty to protect a guest’s privacy by not allowing unregistered and unauthorized third parties to gain access to its guests’ rooms. However, housekeeping is entitled with the right to enter any guests’ rooms for routine cleaning of the rooms. A hotel is also permitted to enter a guest’s room during an emergency such as a fire. In Campbell v. Womack, the plaintiff who is a guest’s spouse was denied the key to her husband’s room because the wife was not a registered guest and hence sued the motel based on the fact that she regularly stayed with her husband numerous times previously in the motel and demanded damages for embarrassment and humiliation. However, the court held that the motel clerk had the right to deny the wife a room key because of the affirmative duty a hotel had to protect their guests’ privacy even if it is the guest’s spouse who is requesting access to their husband’s room.

-The U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that when a hotel guest has paid for a room, a guest is entitled to protection against unreasonable search and seizure and that a hotel has no authority to allow a guest’s room to be search without a warrant since it violates a guest’s right to privacy. However, if a hotel is permitted warrantless search of a guest’s hotel room when their period of stay expires and they do not leave their room or do not pay their bill. Hotel employees such as desk clerks are also not allowed to give out guest room numbers to callers and are permitted from announcing guest room numbers to bystanders.

• I would expect that the paper will be 5-8 pages in length and will include references to specific cases.

-Hanson v. Hyatt Corporation

There are certain cases, however, where a hotel is not entitled to a duty of care towards a person. This type of person must be someone who is not affiliated with the hotel in any way. In the Hanson v. Hyatt Corporation case, the plaintiff



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