Hospitality - Labor and Employment Law

With decades of relevant experience, Venable attorneys recognize the importance of paying attention to every aspect of the employer-employee relationship in the hospitality industry. Our experience across a wide range of industries and practice areas can help you control your labor costs, avoid workplace disputes, and defend yourself when litigation arises.

Venable attorneys have broad experience representing national and international hotels, restaurants, gaming establishments, and catering employers in all aspects of labor and employment law. Our lawyers regularly advise and represent clients in connection with matters before the National Labor Relations Board, union negotiations and organizing, labor strikes, picketing, and corporate campaigns. We also counsel and litigate on behalf of hospitality clients concerning compliance under state and federal wage-and-hour laws and discrimination statutes, including class action defense. Clients tell Chambers and Partners that "Venable has a very credible core of labor and employment lawyers."

Venable can assist your organization by providing knowledgeable counsel on all aspects of workplace hiring and firing, particularly with regard to immigration/I-9 compliance, wrongful discharge, employment discrimination and harassment claims, affirmative action, employee handbooks, non-competes, trade secrets, and OSHA compliance. In addition, our attorneys can advise your organization concerning compliance with employee benefits laws such as ERISA, including defense of withdrawal liability claims.

Our goal is to work with you to understand and structure your business risks, educate your managers, and develop systems and processes to help you manage critical human resources.

Practice Focus

  • Arbitrations
  • Audits
  • Class actions
  • Collective bargaining
  • Diversity / affirmative action
  • EEO / harassment claims
  • Employee benefits
  • Employment agreements
  • Employment disputes
  • ERISA compliance
  • Financial services wage compliance
  • Government contracts
  • Healthcare cost reduction
  • Intellectual property litigation
  • Immigration sanctions
  • Labor cost reductions in mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcy, and healthcare
  • Litigation
  • NLRB, union campaigns, and ULPs
  • OSHA counseling and litigation
  • Personnel policies
  • Trade secrets / non-competes
  • Wage and overtime claims
  • WARN Act compliance
  • Whistleblower

Industry Focus

  • California
  • Colleges and universities
  • Construction
  • Energy
  • Entertainment / media
  • Financial services
  • Government contracting
  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality
  • Independent schools
  • Information technology
  • Manufacturing
  • Nonprofits / trade associations
  • Public employers
  • Retail
  • Telecommunications
  • Transportation


Listed below are representative engagements that Venable has handled as labor and employment counsel on behalf of hotels, restaurants, and gaming and catering companies:

Traditional Labor Law

  • Trained hotel managers on the dos and don’ts of employer conduct during a union organizing campaign
  • Advised and negotiated with unions regarding hotel shutdowns
  • Defended against union pressure tactics related to collective bargaining, including court injunctions and NLRB unfair labor practice charges
  • Successfully defeated a union’s organizing campaign at a national hotel employer before the NLRB
  • Bargained with numerous unions over area contracts and project labor agreements

Employment Litigation

  • Defended a national restaurant chain against a discrimination class action filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Defeated class certification of a nationwide discrimination class action for a national food service provider
  • Defended hotel and restaurant employers against individual and class action wage-and-hour suits under federal and state law
  • Challenged OSHA citations on behalf of national hotels and restaurants
  • Represented restaurant and hotel chains in arbitrations and lawsuits arising from employee terminations
  • Litigated sexual harassment claims asserted against hospitality employers

Advice and Counseling

  • Created new tip pooling and tip sharing programs for caterers and restaurant chains in order to comply with state and federal wage-and-hour laws
  • Counseled hotel and restaurant employers on how to respond to governmental inquiries regarding access accommodations for disabled patrons
  • Advised hotel on how to comply with government contract affirmative action and OFCCP requirements
  • Drafted employee non-compete and trade secret agreements
  • Trained hospitality managers on hot topics in labor and employment law, including the “Card Check” bill, wage-and-hour class actions, and employee harassment claims
  • Counseled national hospitality employers on how to implement company-wide layoffs
  • Drafted voluntary and involuntary severance agreements related to a national hotel’s reduction in force
  • Advised and negotiated on behalf of a national hospitality employer for multi-employer plans under the Pension Plan Protection Act
  • Counseled employers regarding how to reduce their exposure to withdrawal liability
  • Audited hotels’ and restaurants’ I-9 (employment authorization) forms and trained managers on employment authorization practices to avoid fines and penalties under the immigration laws
  • Advised hospitality clients regarding the classification of their independent contractors

Mergers and Acquisitions

  • Advised national hotels regarding labor, employment, and employee benefits issues pertaining to contemplated corporate transactions
  • Conducted due diligence of potential labor, employment, and employee benefit liabilities for corporate purchasers


  • Chambers USA, Leisure & Hospitality, Nationwide, 2016 – 2024
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2012 – 2022 (Venable attorneys selected for inclusion)