The Electronic Journal of Hospitality Legal, Safety and Security Research is a refereed journal of empirical and conceptual research devoted to addressing legal-oriented concerns, safety and security related issues, and various aspects of risk management in places of public accommodation.


Article 1 It is well known that the American hotel industry was greatly affected by the events of the September 11th terrorist attacks. The effects of those tragic acts have not been fully identified on a long-term basis, but continue to have repercussions on the hotel industry as a ripple effect. Terrorism poses a number of significant risks to the hotel industry, which are outlined. This paper explores in more detail a hotel’s potential legal liability for damages caused by a terrorist attack and the related problem with insuring that risk. This study is limited to risks within the hotel industry, but some of the reference materials and conclusions relate to the entire hospitality industry and others as well.

Article 2 This discussion examines the specific exclusion of pathological gambling from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. Although the field of pathological gambling studies is still relatively young, the field has evolved significantly since the ADA’s adoption in 1990. During this same period, legalized gambling has spread dramatically, making legal gambling readily available to virtually all Americans. While gambling has generated substantial benefits for communities across the nation, almost all parties – including the gaming industry – agree that appropriate measures must be taken to address the downside. Because of these developments, the authors argue that the ADA’s pathological gambling exclusion merits a re-examination informed by research advances and mental health experts.


Article 1 The study examines the relationship between visitor demographics and types of criminal offenses in Miami-Dade County, Florida. This study’s results demonstrate that hotel visitors’ demographic characteristics, such as gender and residency/country of origin, are statistically and positively correlated with criminal activities against hotel visitors, robbery and burglary in particular. The results provide hotel management with some recommendations about proper prevention measures to protect hotel visitors from criminal activities.

Article 2 Hospitality operators today view their web sites and the Internet as an essential means of communicating with customers. An interesting legal issue has arisen in recent years which concerns the ability of persons with disabilities to access web sites. The purpose of this research is to provide an overview of the legal climate concerning accessibility to web sites of private entities in the United States today and to provide guidance to hospitality operators in the design of their web sites in light of this emerging climate.

Article 3 As a traveler, hotel guests have come to expect quality service, cleanliness, and safety as part of a pleasant and satisfying hotel stay. During the past several decades, safety and security have become more important to travelers. When staying at a lodging facility, guests expect the owners, managers, and/or operators of hotels to provide a reasonable degree of protection from guest injury or harm. In the United States, this determination of “reasonable” varies widely among state statutes and judicial interpretations. In an attempt to improve protection of guests who secure paid lodging accommodations, a Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, couple has initiated a grass-roots-level crusade to nationalize the standard of care innkeepers must take when hiring employees. The murder of their daughter has spurred a national movement with the goal of improving guest safety and security. This research examines the importance of an employer conducting criminal background checks on prospective employees and examines the role of Nan’s Law in the hospitality industry.


Article 1 On April 20, 2004, the U.S. Department of Labor released its final revised regulations governing the so-called “white collar” exemptions from overtime pay requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The revised regulations, which became effective August 23, 2004, contain several significant changes to the qualifications for executive and managerial exemptions that are likely to be particularly important to the Quickservice Restaurant (QSR) industry. This paper reviews the regulatory changes and assesses the actual and potential impact of the new regulations on the QSR industry, and concludes with recommendations to avoid the increasing legal risk of claims by salaried managers and supervisors for unpaid overtime.

Article 2 Media accounts and advertising campaigns targeting lawsuits and the legal system often suggest something is quite amiss with the U.S. legal system. While outrageous or outrageous sounding cases and verdicts exist, they tend to get a disproportionate amount of attention and fuel demands for tort reform. In contrast, cases that result in decisions that make sense don’t receive similar coverage. In the part of the case against Beantown Pub, Bjorgolfsson v. Destination Boston Hotel, et al. is an example of tort law at its rational best. It is important to know that the legal system gets it right sometimes too.


Article 1 State courts have adopted differing approaches with respect to the standard of care required to be exercised by fixed site ride operators. The courts are split on the issue of whether or not fixed site amusement rides are common carriers. The determination of common carrier status impacts the degree or standard of care owed patrons. As common carriers, fixed site ride operators would be subjected to a heightened or utmost care standard; if not common carriers, the ordinary negligence standard of the reasonably prudent person. This article examines how Courts have emphasized and weighted differing criteria in determining whether fixed site amusement ride operators are common carriers. Understanding the differences in approaches has both operational and educational value.

Article 2 Special events, such as fairs, conventions, ballgames, and concerts are typically activities people attend to participate in the festivities and enjoy with friends and family members. For individuals with disabilities, however, these types of events can create more challenges than enjoyment. The purpose of this paper is to refresh readers on the requirements of Title III of The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and to point out some of the legal issues that have arisen at special events under this law in the past decade. The paper further seeks to identify ways that organizers of special events can reduce or eliminate liability under this law.


Article 1 The perception of safety, both personal safety and safety of a venue, is vital to the success of a tourist destination. This study assessed the perceptions of personal safety of cross border shoppers from Asia, Europe, Canada, Central and South American, and the Middle East visiting Central Texas and Las Vegas. A five-point Likert-type scale was utilized in the study. Although there was a significant difference on many items regarding personal safety, the perceived issues related to safety were minimal. The respondents generally disagreed with most items. The respondents did not feel physically threatened or have personal property stolen. Most respondents did not indicate safety as a factor in determining their traveling choices. These findings bode well for tourist destinations in the United States. Most cross border shoppers in this study were not concerned about safety when traveling in the United States.

Article 2 Online travel websites such as Expedia, Inc. require users to agree to certain terms and conditions before purchasing accommodations. The contracts formed as the result of users agreeing to these “terms of use” can be critical in resolving lawsuits that arise after the accommodations are booked. Two cases against Expedia, Inc. illustrate how the “terms of use” can work either for or against an online travel business.

Article 3 This article examines the application of copyright law to individual recipes and cookbooks by chronicling the demise of a small cooking publication that collapsed under scrutiny engendered by the attention it garnered when the editor’s response to an accusation of copyright infringement went viral. Further, it clarifies the legal distinction between republishing recipes or articles containing recipes, and using a recipe by actually preparing the cuisine.


Article 1 This study identifies and describes major lawsuits against Fortune 500 hotel, foodservice, and casino corporations over the past ten years and suggests that these suits are one indicator of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Lawsuits claiming fraud, discrimination, unjust enrichment, copyright infringement, and wrongful death which ended in settlements or jury awards above $2 million are included. This research follows the methodology of a 2006 study which examined similar claims against Fortune 100 companies.

Article 2 A series of discrimination lawsuits brought against hospitality industry businesses under state public accommodation discrimination laws highlight the ways in which some state’s laws afford protection to a broader range of protected groups than those covered by federal law. Given the relatively recent advent of legalized same-sex marriage and civil unions under some state laws, hospitality industry businesses need to ensure they are compliant with the relevant anti-discrimination laws in their respective states. In addition, research demonstrates a positive economic impact on wedding related spending in states permitting same-sex marriage and civil unions with a significant portion of that spending going to hospitality industry businesses for wedding related tourism.


Article 1 The use of class action lawsuits against large corporations over allegedly illegal tip pooling arrangements is increasingly common. This work examines the use of class action lawsuits for this type of lawsuit and analyzes two recent cases from Massachusetts and New York targeting the legality of Starbucks’ tip-pooling policy under the laws of each state respectively. Both cases represent significant developments in this area of law in that each, for the first time, provides court interpretations of their respective state statutes regulating tip pooling arrangements. In light of the specific requirements of Massachusetts law, the Massachusetts case yielded a $23.5 million settlement with Starbucks. In contrast, under the different requirements of New York law, Starbucks won a significant victory on certain aspects of the case while other aspects remain unresolved. These cases represent but examples of the difficulties even large corporations encounter in complying with the vast array of applicable federal and state laws affecting their operations.


Article 1 While the topic of sexual harassment has received considerable attention in both academic and practitioner circles, relatively less attention has been focused on the unique circumstances of the youth worker and the companies that employ them. This article presents a discussion on the importance of addressing underage harassment and explores several facets of sexual harassment that are unique to youth employees. The article explores the differences in employer liability when harassment involves underage workers, and suggests a set of normative measures to address the problems of underage harassment.

Article 2 This article examines the use of electronic sales suppressions systems focusing on the restaurant industry. Electronically facilitated tax fraud first garnered attention internationally with a wave of states in the U.S. beginning to criminalize the devices in 2011. A summary of existing state laws highlights what is prohibited in each state along with possible penalties for infractions. Further, utilizing 2015 industry forecasts from the National Restaurant Association, state-by-state projections of both under-reported register sales and corresponding sales taxes are provided. Finally, the implications of these developments and projections are discussed.