Civil Rights and Hospitality Business


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Hospitality business entails travel, food business and lodgingindustries. There are several laws that govern nuances within thehospitality industry. The laws do not encompass one area only ratherit contains various practice, contracts, tort law and anti-trustamongst others (Mayer,2004). The recent incidences have made the civil rights onhospitality even much important due to increase in food allergies andother issues that require restaurants to train their staff oningredients to use and appropriate labels for various types of food.Therefore, this paper aims at covering the Act on Civil Rights thatwas formulated in 1964 and the related benefits. Also, theestablishments provided and exempted by this act are examined.


The civil rights entail those rights that are guaranteed by 13thand 14th amendment and Bill of Rights of the constitution.These include right to equal treatment, due process, enjoyment oflife, property, protection and liberty. When an individual is deniedcivil rights or when the civil rights are interfered with, thendiscrimination occurs. The 1964 Act on Civil Rights protects rightsof the transients within the lodging departments. These laws areapplicable to any inn, motel, hotel or any establishment thatprovides lodging to transient persons other than the establishmentwithin the building that contains at mot five rental rooms. This alsoincludes the rent rooms provided night and weekly accommodations(Morris, 2008).

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, therefore, is meant to protect rightsof certain groups from discrimination on the basis of religion,color, national origin or race. According to this act, all people areentitled to equal and full enjoyment of services, privileges,facilities, goods and advantages of specific establishments that comeabout through provision of public accommodation(Brown, 2004).

Civil Rights Act of 1964

This is one of the most significant single pieces of legislation thataffect workplace and was passed after the true American tragedy andassassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. This Act contains severalsections. However, for hospitality, Title VII is the most importantas it outlaws discrimination in any business on the basis of nationalorigin, sex, religion, race and color. Title VII prohibits theretaliation against employees who oppose any unlawful discrimination(Morris, 2008).

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 led to the formation of Equal EmploymentOpportunity Commission (EEOC) that enforces the anti-discriminationprovisions as outlined by Title VII. EEOC is involved with theinvestigation, mediation and filing of lawsuits on behalf of theemployees for damages incurred in terms of attorney fees, lost wagesand other expenses. Furthermore, the Title VII gives provision foremployees to sue their employer. In most cases, however, anindividual is required to file a discrimination complaint with EEOCin the first 180 days after identifying the discrimination. Themajor provisions are freedom from discrimination based on:

  • Color/race

  • Age

  • National origin

  • Pregnancy

  • Sexual harassment

  • Religious

To the hospitality manager, the impact is realized in dailyoperations. The Title VII prohibits an employer from discriminatingagainst individual based on their backgrounds. In this case,employers are not supposed to discriminate when hiring or setting upemployment terms and conditions. Also, employers are prohibited fromretaliating against potential employees or their employees who filecharges of being discriminated against (Morris,2008).

The civil rights derived from the constitution by an individualinclude freedom of speech, privacy, freedom of contract and freedomof due process. As originally passed, the Civil Rights Act outlawsany discrimination based on color, religion, race and nationalorigin. The major types of outlawed discrimination in establishmentsinclude restaurants, hotels, gas stations and place of entertainment(Hattam, 2004).

Provisions of Civil Rights Act of 1964

The provisions contained in Civil Rights Act of 1964 contains thesubsequent amendments for gender, the general intent and purpose,elimination of discrimination, ending discrimination in facilities atthe hospitality industry, and the elimination of humiliation andunfairness of the racial bigotry, as well as inconveniencing theblacks wishing to dine or travel (Mayer, 2004).

The Act also offers protection for classes like marital status,disabilities, and sexual orientation. This also contains provisionsfor the facilities to be engaged within the interstate commerce, aswell as business transactions between companies or individuals(Skog, 2007).

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The act prohibits any discrimination against disabled persons inareas of transportation, public accommodation, and employment. ADAcomprises of five-piece legislation focusing on employment andprotecting three groups of individuals. These are:

  • People with mental or physical impairment that limits their major life activities substantially.

  • People with a disability record

  • People regarded as being disabled

Therefore, employers should not discriminate on the basis ofdisability. This means that, with reasonable accommodation, a personwith a disability should not be denied employment if he/she has thecapability of doing that job. The ADA regulations require ticketingvenues that ensure companion seats and wheelchairs within thespecialty areas that allow spectators with distinct amenities andservices. This means that accessibility to seats should be enhancedand provided at costs not exceeding the normal prices for tickets.The accessible areas are required to be availed and detailed on mapsor any other material with sufficient identification details(Brown, 2004).

Therefore, provision of reasonable accommodation involves employermaking existing facilities accessible to persons with impairments.This also involves restructuring a job in such a way that a disabledperson can easily perform. If this would result to undue hardships,them the employer is not obliged to give reasonable accommodation(Morris, 2008).


A hotel operator is entitled to ensure safety of their guest`sproperty. As a result, he operator is supposed to take care of theguests. This implies taking care of their safety and act prudently inoffering reasonable care. Therefore, the operator is held liable forany negligence identified hence the need to ensure all the personalinformation of the guests is retained during the stay, and uponleaving, the destruction would occur in such a way that follows theestablished procedures.

Common Law

The common law holds that the innkeepers are responsible for antlosses to the property of their guests. Almost all states haveabrogated the duty limiting the liability of the innkeeper as long asthere is compliance to certain requirements on the part of theinnkeeper. Such requirements are regulated in the innkeeper’sstatute of the state. This governs placement of law, as well as sizeof displayed statute. To be protected under this statute innkeeperand employees cannot complicit in loss or theft of the property ofthe guest. Innkeeper is required to provide security for the propertyof the guest (Brown,2004).

The statute also governs bailment which entails delivery of an itemfor a certain use with implied or expressed understanding that therecipient is in position to return it in same or similar condition aswhen received after the use if done. This includes safety depositboxes, coat checks, and luggage storage. Therefore, the operators inlodgings and restaurants must understand their accountability inkeeping the property of the guest in a safe place after theestablishment of a bailment (Hattam,2004).


The operators in restaurants are obliged to sell merchantable foodthat is suitable for sale. The laws about “Truth in Menu” play amajor role in governing food descriptions in those menus. Theselaws are meant to ensure that customers are given exactly what is inthe menu, as well as the descriptions for ingredients and preparationstyle amongst others.

The government has been in the forefront in regulation of sale andadvertisement of food products. As a result, the national restaurantassociation gives guidance relating to the hotel industry(Gold, 2011).

Lodging for Transients

All people are entitled to equal and full enjoyment of privileges,advantages and goods and services at any public accommodation withoutsegregation or discrimination on the basis of color, religion,national origin or race. Each establishment is required to servepeople in places of public accommodation in the meaning of this titleif the operations affect commerce or segregation or discrimination byis backed by state action. This also involves any inn or hotel thatprovides lodging for the transient guests apart from theestablishment located in the building with less than five rooms. Thisalso applies to cafeteria or restaurants amongst other facilitiesthat are primarily engaged in food businesses on the premises limitedto any facility on premises within any retail establishment or gasstation (Gold, 2011).

This also covers any house for motion pictures like theaters, sportsarena, stadiums and concert halls. The establishment must bephysically located in the premises within any of the establishmentcovered by this subsection. In this case, the operations of theestablishment will affect commerce. Commerce implies travel,transportation or trade that involves communication between people.All people are entitled to be free while in any establishment fromsegregation or discrimination, and this purports to be needed by anyordinance, law, regulation, statute or rule. According to theseprovisions, no any person is required to deny, withhold, attempt towithhold or deprive another right and privilege of something orrequirement. This prohibits any threatening, coercing or intimidatingwith the aim of interfering with privileges and right or evenattempting to or punishing a person for attempting or exercising anyprivilege or right (Skog, 2007).

This also provides for when a person engages or reveals reasonablegrounds to believe that there are plans to engage in acts prohibitedby this provision, or a civilian action for preventive reliefincluding application for temporary or permanent injunction thatrestrains order. Upon the application of such acts, the court maypermit the attorney general intervene if he certifies that the caseis of importance. This may authorize the commencement of a civilaction (Brown, 2004).

Whenever the attorney general gets a reasonable cause of believingthat a group or a person is/are engage in practices of resistance tofull enjoyment of any rights secured under this titled, and reveal apattern or practice of such nature, the attorney general can decideto inflict a civil action using the appropriate district court byfiling a complaint requesting for a preventive relief. In such aproceeding, the attorney general can file a request for convention ofthree judges to help in determining the case. Failure to file therequest the chief judge in the district court must designate a judgeto hear and determine the case. Therefore, the judge is responsiblefor assigning the case for hearing at earliest practicable date andenhances the expedition of the case. Remedies provided under thistitle shall act as means through which rights are enforced andnothing in the title precludes any individual, state or local agencyfrom assertion of any rights based on the state or federal lawsinconsistent with this title. This includes any ordinance or statutethat requires non-discrimination in establishments within the publicplaces or accommodations (Morris, 2008).

Therefore, Civil Rights Act of 1964 offers protection on rights oftransients within the lodging establishments, and this is applicableto inns, motels or hotels, as well as any other establishment thatprovide lodging facilities.

Dining Facilities

The act covers restaurants, lunchrooms, soda fountain, lunch countersand any other facility that is principally used for selling food foruse within the premises. This also includes the drive-in restaurants,sandwich soaps, food facilities at the hospitals, golf courses, andany other similar establishments. Also, the places of entertainmentare defined by the act. This includes any place primarily used forperformance, exhibitions or athletic among other places that move incommerce where there should be no discrimination against theprotected parties.

The jurisdiction through the Interstate Commerce is provided for thehotels where most travelers and guests are not natives. Also, thisincludes the restaurants that serve the interstate travelers wheresubstantial portion of their food is served out of the state. Unlikehotels, some of the food establishments never inquire the statecountry of the patrons. Therefore, this Act does provide for theinterstate travelers. The dining facilities that advertise onmagazines to be delivered to motels or hotel for distribution arealso included (Mayer, 2004).

Gender Discrimination

Also, discrimination on the basis of sex and gender is covered underthe violation of civil right. According to the Act, discriminationinvolves many forms like pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassmentand unequal wages for women in the same job as men. Women arefamiliar with all the discrimination meted at them but suggest thatthey should be ready to learn how they can protect and identify anydiscrimination that is gender-based. This may enable them be treatedin a different way when they visit the public accommodation places.

Relief and advertisement

The act provides limited relief where money given out is notrecoverable. The injunction relief results when the court offers anorder that compels the defendant refrain from accomplishing an act(Hattam, 2004). The reasonable fees paid to an attorney for asuccessful plaintiff. Some of the exempt establishments are privateclubs and bed-and-breakfast. The bed-and-breakfast can be exempted ifit contains at most five rooms, or it is occupied by the proprietor.Proprietors are allowed to admit transients in their homes in orderto retain control and discretion over the people that sleep in theirpremises. A private club is determined to be private when it isselective on membership, with new members sought out discretely. Aprivate club contains clearly designated criteria for selecting themembers, and members will normally be incorporated during theselection process. In this context, members will control and governthe club.

To extend the protection of the Civil Rights Laws, each state isrequired to have a law that duplicates the Act itself. This helps inpartial extension of coverage on civil rights protection. The statestatutes expand customary towards the categories of the protectedclasses which include disability and marital status. Some localordinances and statutes include the sexual orientation. Most of thestate statutes prohibit the advertisements containing suggestions orstatements that express or imply that the accommodations are offeredon preference of certain characteristic (Gold,2011).

How it relates to my future career

Legal issues in the hospitality industry are relevant to myfuture career in the hospitality industry. Since I hope to build myfuture career in the hospitality industry, it is crucial that I gainawareness of the crucial civil rights issues that guide the conductof employees in this industry. With the knowledge of legal issues, Iwill help my fellow employees gain bargaining power in the workplacein order to address vital issues that touch on the welfare ofworkers. Besides, I will be equipped with knowledge on theappropriate strategies of dealing with junior employees when I becomea manager or supervisor. Moreover, I will use the knowledge of legalissues to lobby for changes in areas that have discrepancies.


From the analysis in this paper, it can be said that under theprovisions of the federal Act, remedies are primarily injunctive andlimited, with the state remedies being much expansive. The violationof Civil Rights Laws is considered as a crime. Also, there is aprovision for a comprehensive national mandate to end discriminationby ensuring consistent, strong and enforceable standards that help toaddress discrimination at all levels. This also protects againstdiscrimination in places of accommodation, particularly hospitalityindustries. Normally, discrimination encompasses failure of makingreasonable modifications in policies, procedures, and practices whenthey are required in the provision of services. Under certaincircumstances, there should be a redress of women discrimination.Virtually all states have well-established statutes prohibitingdiscrimination in the hospitality industry based on various humanperceived factors.

The management within the service establishment should adopt rulesthat play a major role in maintaining order and expressing themanagement philosophy. For retaliatory exclusion, when a customersues a hotel, there is often a disinclination to return to theprovider for services. Seeking for service while commencing a lawsuitabout a facility, then the facility may not be obligated toaccommodate objectionable persons, and the patrons who may decide toenter the premises illegally may be deemed to commit a criminaltrespass (Brown, 2004).


Brown, F. (2004). The First Serious Implementationof Brown: The 1964 Civil Rights Act and Beyond. TheJournal of Negro Education 73(3),182.

Gold, S. (2011). TheCivil Rights Act of 1964. New York:Marshall Cavendish Benchmark.

Hattam, V. (2004). The 1964 Civil Rights Act:Narrating the Past, Authorizing the Future. Studiesin American Political Development 18(1).

Mayer, R. (2004). TheCivil Rights Act of 1964. San Diego:Greenhaven.

Morris, K. (2008). Hotel,Restaurant, and Travel Law: A Preventive Approach.Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning.

Skog, J. (2007). TheCivil Rights Act of 1964. Minneapolis,MN: Compass Point.