Hospitality Law

Hospitality laws relate to food service, travel, and lodging industries. It governs the various nuances of the hotel, restaurant, bar, spa, country club, meeting, and convention industries, among others. Much like entertainment law, homeowners association law, and other specialty fields, hospitality law is much more a description of the types of clients who seek out the attorneys who focus their practices in these areas rather than an actual set of laws. Hospitality law commonly encompasses a wide array of laws including contracts, anti-trust, torts, real estate, and many others.

Recent spurts of food poisoning cases and increasing awareness of food illnesses have brought hospitality laws front and center in the public conscience. Similarly, terrorist attacks against hotels abroad have also demonstrated the importance of hospitality law even in international affairs, especially as they pertain to protecting guests from harm.

While hospitality law covers many different types of businesses, hotels and restaurants are the two most common hospitality law clients. American hotel operators have a number of legal duties to their guests. They are expected to protect guests' safety and avoid negligence. Hotels must also protect the confidentiality of their guests' identifying information. They must hire, manage, and fire employers just like any other business, and they must prepare and execute a seemingly endless stream of contracts. Moreover, hotels must also obligated to protect their guests from criminal harms, like theft of belongings left in the rooms or other harms, possibly even terrorist attacks.

Restaurants, on the other hand, have a duty to sell food that is suitable for human consumption. Many states have enacted "Truth in Menu" laws governing descriptions of food items on menus to allow customers to make healthier choices and to ensure that the customer receives exactly what they ordered (for example, 10 chicken wings will be 10 wings, not 9). The federal government also has a plethora of food regulations that restaurants must abide by, such as warnings regarding trans fats. Restaurants must also protect customers against slips and falls, food poisoning, and other personal injuries.

Both industries also commonly deal with anti-trust issues, franchise agreements, supply chain and other commercial transactions, labor disputes, and a variety of other legal issues.

The resources below will provide additional information regarding this area of the law, and you can find attorneys who focus their practice in this area under the "Law Firms" tab on the menu bar, above.


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    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Leisure including: art and cultural property, entertainment law, gaming, hospitality law, sports and recreation, tourism and travel.

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