Ask nearly any leader in the hotel industry and/or their HR manager for the definition of a “hostile work environment,” and they will have a pretty solid answer. That’s because many of them have had to handle employee claims for illegal harassment. Further, these leaders, for the most part, have dealt with such employee issues as inappropriate conduct that have the potential to become a lawsuit.
Now ask these same leaders and their HR managers to provide a legal definition for the term “assault.” Getting an accurate definition likely will be more difficult. But it is a legal awareness that is becoming more important for managers to understand in supervising their hotel employees and ensuring that the workplace is not a breeding ground for litigation. While HR managers are accustomed to investigating employee complaints with an eye towards the common federal claims upon which they have been trained, they are now going to have to pay attention to emerging state law claims, as well.
Civil claims for assault and battery have existed for decades, but in recent years, lawyers representing employees have started to make use of these claims more frequently. Summarized below are the primary reasons for this shift: