Duties of Care Within the Hospitality Industry
When working within the hospitality industry, one must fully understand and utilize well-informed and reasonable judgement in dealing with customers and guests. While accidents may occur within these industries, hospitality leaders must be aware of the potential for legal action against the industry regardless of the defendant’s intentions when working with the plaintiff. One of the key elements in fully understanding and being engaged in hospitality law is to understand Tort Law and Negligence, and how they must act in order to avoid legal action against them. Tort Law allows for individuals who have experienced damages, whether physical, emotional, or monetary, to receive compensation from the damager (Westcott, 2016). There are two key types of torts with respect to this law: intentional, which means that the individual meant to cause damages, or unintentional, which means that the individual was negligent and caused accidental damages as a result (Westcott, 2016). For the businesses to operate effectively within the hospitality industry, the leadership and employees involved must clearly comprehend the two kinds of torts, what they mean in terms of legal action and hospitality law, and how they can contribute towards best practices within their industries to avoid issues.
It is important to be able to differentiate and understand the two types of Tort Law in order for individuals to not breach either form. Intentional torts are when the damager completes an action that they know will result in damages to the victim, whether they are physical, mental, or monetary. This does not necessarily imply physical violence, but can include it, as well as acts of vandalism or trespassing (Stanford EDU, 2012). In contrast, unintentional torts are a result of negligence against a plaintiff. Negligence refers to failing to complete reasonable acts, or any acts that a normal and reasonable person would commit, to reduce the chances of threats of health and safety (Westcott, 2016). For a victim to successfully prove an incident of negligence, they must show that they suffered an injury (either physical, mental, or monetary), that a duty of care existed (that the damager was responsible for the plaintiff’s health and safety), that this duty of care was breached (that reasonable actions were not taken as per industry standard), and that the actions, or lack of actions, from the defendant clearly caused the injury to the victim (Westcott, 2016). While torts can comprise of actions that infringe upon both civil and criminal matters, accusations of a breach of tort law is governed by civil courts rather than criminal ones (Stanford EDU, 2012). The difference between dealing with issues of tort in criminal versus civil courts is that civil courts award the plaintiff with reparations to be paid by the defendant, rather than sentencing them to jail-time (Stanford EDU, 2012). This type of award is called a “civil remedy” (Stanford EDU, 2012). The values of these civil remedies are determined by several factors, including any monetary losses (including a loss of wages), the cost to repair damaged property, punitive damages (punishment for intentional torts), or a valuation on the plaintiff’s pain and suffering resulting from the breach of care (Stanford EDU, 2012). In understanding the two types of torts, and how they can be committed and charged, individuals within the hospitality industry can better prepare themselves throughout their day-to-day lives to avoid such lawsuits. [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
Within the hospitality industry, the more common occurrence of breaches in tort law are acts of negligence by either employees or businesses. Within unintentional tort, there are a number of types of negligence that employees or businesses can commit, and it is important to understand these to ensure that the proper duty of care is provided to all guests and customers. Negligence claims can occur as a result of two things: first, if the defendant failed to complete an action that a reasonable person would take, and two, if they failed to properly complete an action, resulting in injury to the plaintiff (Barth & Hayes, 2012). An example case of negligence is if a hotel guest decided to dive into an unmarked pool that was too shallow for diving (Barth & Hayes, 2012). If the guest did not realize that the pool was shallow, and the pool was not marked as unsafe for diving, then the hotel could be held negligent under unintentional tort, because they did not properly mark the pool area (Barth & Hayes, 2012). As an extended example, if the hotel had improperly marked the pool as safe for diving, or with a deep depth of ten feet, but the pool was only 5 feet deep, then they could also be held negligent because they improperly labelled the pool (Barth & Hayes, 2012). There are many types of negligence that a business or individual within the hospitality industry could be held accountable for. These include: gross negligence, contributory and comparative negligence, strict liability, and intentional acts. In contrast to regular negligence charges, charges of gross negligence result when a business or individual completely overlooks the standards of care for the duty owned to a guest, customer, or public (Barth & Hayes, 2012). In successful cases of gross negligence, the defendant will not only be charged for reparations to the plaintiff, but will also be forced to pay punitive damages as a punishment for their actions (Barth & Hayes, 2012). Punitive damages allow courts to make examples of poorly-performing individuals, to discourage others from making the same mistakes. Contributory negligence is when a guest or customer provides a contributory action to an injury they receive because of a business or individual (Barth & Hayes, 2012). In these cases, the damages or reparations to be paid by the individual or business will likely be reduced, as the plaintiff helped to cause the actions; the blame will be split between the two, but the defendant will likely still have to pay some reparations (Barth & Hayes, 2012). This split of blame between the two parties is termed “Comparative Negligence” (Barth & Hayes, 2012). In contrast to the other forms of negligence discussed, Strict Liability is when a business or individual hosts an event or service deemed too dangerous to operate (Barth & Hayes, 2012). In this case, even if the guest or customer participated in contributory negligence towards the damages, the defendant would still be held completely at fault, because the plaintiff should not have been participating in the first place (Barth & Hayes, 2012). Finally, Intentional Acts in this case differ from intentional tort, as they are a result of a third party performing intentional actions that resulted in damages to the plaintiff. For instance, if a fight breaks out in a bar, the bar itself will not be held accountable for the injuries of the victims (Barth & Hayes, 2012). Understanding these different types of negligence is key for individuals to ensure that they refrain from breaching their duty of care to their guests and customers. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
To ensure for hospitality best practices, and to avoid any breaches of tort, managers and leaders within the industry must ensure staff provides safe accommodations and public spaces, serves safe food and drinks, responsibly dispenses alcoholic drinks, provides thorough and mandatory health and safety training for all staff members, provides reasonable warnings to guests and customers of any potential dangers on the premises, and reasonably protects guest’s personal items from theft or damage (Barth & Hayes, 2012). The behaviour of leaders within the hospitality industry has the power to both prevent health and safety incidents, as well as prevent them (Jackson, 2016). For the most efficient and effective operations, hospitality businesses should properly train and support their staff to ensure that they performed reasonably, as the actions they take reflect both upon themselves, as well as on the business. [Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
Barth, S. C., & Hayes, D. K. (2012, October). Hospitality Law: Managing Legal Issues in the Hospitality Industry.
Jackson, J. (2016, October). Beyond Decision Making for Outdoor Leaders: Expanding the Safety Behaviour Research Agenda.
Stanford EDU. (2012, October). TORTS (NOT A PIECE OF CAKE) .
Westcott, M. (2016). Tort Law and Negligence. Retrieved from Open Textbook Resource – BC: