Houston, TX

The Hospitality Law Conference

This one and a-half day conference, is an intimate, informative and intense educational conference where attendees participate in expert-led sessions and interactive discussions that explore the best practices and benchmark current policies across the hotel and restaurant industries.

The latest cases, trends, challenges and solutions relevant to the hospitality industry are up for exploration in TED Talk Style Presentations and Q&A/Deeper Dive Sessions.

Continuing Legal Education Credit:

HospitalityLawyer.com will be applying for MCLE credit hours in the State of Texas. For reference, HospitalityLawyer.com in April 2023 was approved for 8.50 MCLE credit hours, of which 0.50 were ethics credit, in the State of Texas. 

Attorneys in attendance may be eligible to receive CLE credit through reciprocity or attorney self-submission in other states, and HospitalityLawyer.com® will help provide the details needed to apply.  Please contact your state bar or licensing authority to verify the requirements and process to apply. In order for HospitalityLawyer.com® to have a record of your attendance on file, please make sure you sign-in at the check-in table.

 

Duty of Care Measures

At this time, subject to future CDC guidance and/or other government venue suggestions or mandates, there are not any requirements for proof of COVID vaccines or COVID testing. Hand sanitizer and masks will be available. Masks are optional.

On-Demand Post-Conference Access

This conference will not be live-streamed, however it will be recorded and made available for viewing so that it may be watched on-demand post-conference.

Day 1
April 23, 2024
Day 2
April 24, 2024
8:00 am - 9:00 am

Check-In + Networking Breakfast

9:00 am - 9:15 am

Welcome

9:15 am - 9:45 am

Keep Your Hospitality Establishment Out Of Jeopardy!

Kendall Kelly Hayden

Join us for an interactive Jeopardy! style game show presentation -- what more fun could you have when learning about ethics issues in 2024! Whether you're in house, panel counselor, or a vendor, you don't want to miss this fun audience-inspired program. Bring your competitive nature; it's game ON!

9:45 am - 10:15 am

Drafting Effective Arbitration Clauses for Hospitality Contracts

Angela Romero Valedon

This session will focus on the crucial aspect of drafting arbitration clauses in hospitality agreements. Tips and best practices will be discussed for drafting effective arbitration clauses that can withstand legal scrutiny and efficiently resolve disputes in the hospitality sector.

10:15 am - 10:45 am

ADA Website Compliance Obligations for Businesses

Jordan Schwartz

"As in years past, the number of lawsuits filed against hotels, restaurants, and other places of public accommodation alleging that their websites violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) has continued to rise nationwide. Additionally, this year we *may* finally have guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court regarding whether a plaintiff has standing to challenge a place of public accommodation’s failure to provide disability accessibility information on its website, even if she lacks any intention of visiting that place of public accommodation. Regardless of how the Supreme Court rules, however, it is still crucial for hotel owners and operators to know what information to provide to the public regarding the accessible features of its physical property.

Likewise, all businesses should be aware of how to make their websites accessible (i.e., compatible with screen reader software), so that they are usable by individuals with visual and hearing impairments. Indeed, businesses must have a plan in place to testing their website’s accessibility and then implement any necessary changes to improve accessibility.

Attendees will learn:

-What issues to look for when determining website accessibility
-When to involve legal counsel in conducting such website accessibility tests and remediation efforts in order to preserve attorney-client privilege
-What specific accessibility-related information should be listed on your website
-Whether your company should include an “Accessibility Statement” on its website and, if so, what information that statement should include"

10:45 am - 11:15 am

Best Practices for Hospitality Property Tax Challenges and Selecting an Appraiser for Litigation

David Wilkes

Property taxes are among the largest annual operating expenses for nearly every hotel. The local tax burden is also one of the most straight forward to manage, if properly understood. The ad valorem real estate tax is based on value, with two signature caveats: (1) he value must segregate real estate from the going concern, and (2) local rules will dictate a different standard valuation - and resulting value - depending on the location of the hotel. We will look at how the incorporate these issues into the management of the tax for a portfolio and, where a tax protest may be warranted, the key considerations in commissioning a valuation analysis from an independent appraiser.

11:15 am - 11:30 am

Morning Networking Break

11:30 am - 12:00 pm

When Good Help is Hard to Find: Accessing the Foreign Labor Market for Seasonal Staffing Needs

Ben Snyder
Marisa Rauchway

Labor shortages continue to present challenges for employers in the U.S. hospitality industry, especially those operating in seasonal markets. A growing number of hospitality employers are finding their solutions overseas. This presentation will explain the legal system regulating U.S. employers’ access to foreign labor for seasonal employment, including the procedures required to legally recruit and hire workers from abroad through the H-2B visa program, considerations for company-owned vs. franchised locations, and options to retain foreign workers long-term through Permanent Labor Certification.

12:00 pm - 12:30 pm

And Then There Were NINE: Revisiting Best Practices for Allergen Policies in F&B Operations

David Denney

In 2023, the Big 8 Allergens became the Big 9. This session will discuss obligations F&B operations have to their guests and review best practices for implementing policies that protect both allergic diners and the business.

12:30 pm - 1:00 pm

Best Practices for Management Contracts for Owners & Operators

Michael McGee

This session will provide an overview of best practices that hotel owners & operators should keep in mind as they negotiate management agreements.

1:00 pm - 2:15 pm

Award Luncheon

2:15 pm - 2:45 pm

The Value of a Champions Network in Changing the Culture of Our Organizations

Tricia Fratto
Matt Silverman

We often seek to change our organizational culture through leadership directives, the implementation of new policies, or the advice of outside experts. However, such a change rarely happens from the top down. The most effective way to expand our influence is to leverage our existing networks and find those who will champion our ideas at the local level - in time, spreading them throughout our organizations. Afterall, a change in company culture isn't achieved by a mandate, but through a movement. Whether it's making our organizations more compliant, safer, or secure, we can leverage our current employee base to build a network of champions that reinforces these ideals. In this session, Tricia Fratto & Matt Silverman offer a blueprint to build a champions network and provide an argument for why this model is an optimal way to expand our influence and change the culture of our organizations.

2:45 pm - 3:15 pm

NLRB Updates – Quickie Elections, Micro-units, Joint Employer and Protected Concerted Activity

Andria Ryan

A flurry of NLRB activity is part of an ongoing effort by the current Labor Board to make it easier on unions and their ability to organize employees as well as to litigate non-union employees' rights in the workplace. This session will review the NLRB's recent activity and how hospitality employers can mitigate legal claims and respond to employee concerns through a proactive and positive employee relations program.

3:15 pm - 3:30 pm

Afternoon Networking Break

3:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Guidelines for the Proper Role of Third Party Marketing Companies

Elizabeth DeConti

Third Party Marketing Companies are a cottage industry in the alcohol space. Suppliers of alcoholic beverages like to use them to manage their marketing dollars and retailers like to use them to help create programming and spend those funds. But what about the rules? This presentation will summarize the law regarding proper use of third party marketing companies, and will cover tips on how you can document your activities in partnership with your third party marketing company to achieve compliance.

4:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Hacking Into Cyber Claims

Jessica Eldridge

This discussion is geared towards attorneys, corporate risk management and/or insurance professionals involved with cyber-related matters. This TED Talk will provide a high level overview to assist those that oversee or have a client involved with digital, cyber, e-commerce and/or compliance of data and how it is used, transmitted and protected. The speaker, Ms. Eldridge, will highlight the types of Cyber Claims within the Hospitality Industry, the similarities & differences between Cyber & Non-Cyber Claims and how financial damages are calculated on cyber claims especially if business operations are interrupted due to a cyber incident.

4:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Reception

8:00 am - 9:00 am

Check-In + Networking Breakfast

9:00 am - 9:15 am

Welcome Back

9:15 am - 9:45 am

Conducting a Site-Specific Risk Assessment (aka: Threat & Vulnerability Assessment)

Brad Bonnell
Salvatore Caccavale

This presentation will define what constitutes a reasonable, proportionate and commonly accepted method conducting a site-specific risk assessment that functions to identify unmitigated risks which then guides in the development of policies, procedures and training to mitigate identified risks.

A site specific risk assessment will be critical in demonstrating during litigation that an intelligence led strategy guided in the development of coherent security program integrated throughout the enterprise which functioned to provide and maintain a reasonable level of care.

9:45 am - 10:15 am

Asking a Guest to Leave the Premises and Bias - How the Starbucks Incident Changed the Hospitality Industry

Robert Schnitz

This session will explore hotels and restaurants as public accommodations; trespass laws and removing a guest from the premises; the impact of civil rights laws on trespass practices; and the rise of "third spaces" and social media.

10:15 am - 10:45 am

Managing the Complex Web of Leave Laws: ADA, FMLA, AND WC

Bruno Katz

This topic will address the different leave options under the ADA, the FMLA, and Workers' Compensation. It will discuss the overlapping nature as well as the unique criteria for each statute. The discussion will also focus on the qualifying events and coverage and what job protection exists for each.

10:45 am - 11:45 am

50 Recent Hospitality Cases

11:45 am - 12:00 pm

Closing Remarks

Thank You to Our Hospitality Law Thought Leaders

Thank You to Our Media Alliance

Questions on Attending?
marilyn@hospitalitylawyer.com
Questions on Speaking or Sponsoring?
hayley@hospitalitylawyer.com

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