5 things to know: 9 September 2020
5 things to know: 9 September 2020
09 SEPTEMBER 2020 9:25 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • Federal judge strikes down Trump’s joint-employer rule
  • Marriott to lay off hundreds at headquarters
  • Regional experts share predictions for Caribbean, LatAm
  • JPMorgan investigates misuse of stimulus funds
  • Bump in travel over Labor Day not expected to last

Federal judge strikes down Trump’s joint-employer rule: U.S. District Judge Gregory Woods in Manhattan, New York, voided the Trump administration’s rule narrowing the definition of a joint employer, calling the rule “arbitrary and capricious” because the U.S. Department of Labor did not justify or account for costs to workers, Reuters reports. The attorneys general of 17 states and Washington, D.C., argued the rule would eliminate labor protections and cost workers more than $1 billion annually.

In his decision, the judge said the joint-employer rule conflicted with worker protections in the Fair Labor Standards Act and that the Labor Department has recognized joint employer liability since 1939, the article states.

“If the Department’s interpretation were ‘clear’ (or even permissible), some court would have probably adopted its rationale,” Woods wrote in his decision. “But the Department has found not a one. Over 80 years later, this dog has yet to bark.”

Marriott to lay off hundreds at headquarters: Because of the ongoing slump in travel, Marriott International will lay off 673 employees from its corporate headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, starting 23 October, USA Today reports. The company employs roughly 4,000 there.

The revelation of the layoffs came through Marriott’s filing of a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification notice through Maryland’s labor department. Like many other hotel companies, Marriott furloughed tens of thousands of employees back in March when the coronavirus pandemic began in the U.S. and people cut back sharply on their travel, the article states.

Regional experts share predictions for Caribbean, LatAm: A panel of travel and hospitality experts from the Caribbean and Latin America spoke about their expectations for their regions at the CHRIS+HOLA Connect online conference, writes HNN’s Bryan Wroten.

Frank Comito, CEO and director general at the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, said travel and occupancy won’t reach pre-pandemic levels for years.

“We’re looking at really two headwinds here: the virus and a recession,” he said. “How severe that recession will be, we just don’t know yet, but the U.S. Consumer Confidence Index is at a six-year low. The effects of a global recession are just beginning to be followed, and, if that cycle holds up, it’ll take years before we climb our way out of that.”

JPMorgan investigates misuse of stimulus funds: JPMorgan Chase & Co. has launched an investigation after finding evidence that employees and customers misused government stimulus money and is cooperating with authorities, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The company told its employees in a memo the customer issues involve the Paycheck Protection Program, unemployment benefits and other government programs, the article states. It also stated some employees had “fallen short, too.”

Though not providing any specific details, the memo described it as “conduct that does not live up to our business and ethical principles—and may even be illegal.”

Bump in travel over Labor Day not expected to last: More than 900,000 people went through TSA screening the Friday before and on Labor Day itself for the first time since March, but airlines don’t expect this jump in travel to continue, CNN reports. The number of travelers over the holiday weekend was significantly higher than over the past several months, but it was only 39% of the number of travelers screened during the same period in 2019.

“The fall is normally a seasonally weak period, anyway. And this year people have gotten the vacation they had to have,” Phil Baggaley, chief airline credit analyst for Standard & Poor's, told CNN. “The recovery in air travel stalled out in July. What happens in fall and winter remains to be seen.”

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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