The Hospitality industry is the most volatile industry in relation to law suits. This is why if you are working in this arena it is important that you have a good understanding of the law relating to hospitality. From the time you decide to go on a holiday to the time you complete and come back home, a whole series of unfortunate incidents can arise that might spoil your well deserved break.
If you are working with an airline company; or travel and tourism agency; or hotels and tourist transportation, it is worth your measure of salt to know what you can do to prevent a potentially expensive lawsuit that might bankrupt you or your company.
The context of the law relating to hospitality can be categorised into three types. The first is the law of tort, the second is the law of contract and the third is the law of agency. In this article we will analyse the law of tort.
The law of tort relates to areas such as trespass to person, land and personal property. The other area in the law of tort relates to the law of negligence.
If you were a hotel manager and discovered that a non-registered person is using the swimming pool, what would you do? The simple answer is that you can evict the person from the premise as he or she is a trespasser. But what if as a trespasser and whilst using the pool, he or she was injured because the pool area was wet and slippery and lacked proper maintenance?
Obviously if the person injured was a guest, he could certainly bring an action against your hotel in negligence. This is because as the management of the hotel you owe a duty to your guest and by you not maintaining your premise there was a breach of this duty of care. The guest having suffered an injury will suffice for him to bring an action in the law of tort. This is quite certain. But what is uncertain is whether the same level of protection from the law can apply to a person who is a trespasser in the hotel premise. This is something that requires a deeper analysis.
If this matter goes to court, the probable test the court will apply is based on a concept called causation. This is to look at the situation objectively and decide based on what lawyers famously would like to brag called the ‘reasonable man’ argument. (We will discuss this in another article). Based on this concept, what it means is that whether the person injured was a guest or trespasser – the key question would be whether the injury caused, was it by the direct negligence on the part of the hotel in not maintaining its premises?
If the answer is that the injury was caused by the negligence of the hotel in not maintaining the premise then this would be enough grounds for the both the guest and the trespasser to sue.
But of course it is not as simple as that. There are other considerations to analyse. Such as how and why the trespasser was able to access the swimming pool? And the concept of the innocent trespasser!
This is just one example of the important of law in the hospitality industry. There are other factors to consider as well. We will discuss this in another article.