September 19, 2023

Be Prepared: Legal and HR Updates for Club Leaders (A Preview)

Annual Convention
Written by Brad Steele, J.D. — Contributor

As if dealing with your members’ demands is not hard enough, club leaders like you must also work to ensure your club — whether it’s a country, city, golf, yacht or other type of club — does not encounter legal issues from employees, members or guests. And that means you must make critical decisions about how to run your club without exposing it to more traditional (and even nontraditional) liability concerns.

With such responsibility placed on so many club leaders’ plates, I’ve been asked to help HFTP members and stakeholders be better prepared to deal with the most important legal and HR concerns facing clubs. To that end, I’m presenting a session at the HFTP 2023 Annual Convention entitled, “Be Prepared: Legal and HR Updates for Club Leaders.” Sounds fun, right?! Trust me, it will be (or maybe just terrifying!).

As an example of how fun (or terrifying) the session will be, one of our first topics will touch on how to deal with gender identity issues at the club. For almost every other industry, this can be a very difficult legal issue to navigate. For the private club industry, there is a bit more clarity regarding how you should react if a question of bathroom or locker room use or participation in a member tournament comes up. But beware…if not handled correctly, legal and reputational damages could overwhelm a club.       

We will also hit on how clubs classify independent contractors. With so many of these workers on the payroll, club leaders tend to treat them just like employees. Regrettably, a new Department of Labor regulation will force you to reevaluate how you interact with these workers or face significant liability.

In addition, we’ll explore how to deal with state laws regarding your employees’ marijuana use — removing the purple haze of misconception caused by numerous state and federal laws on the subject (see what I did there?).

Finally, we’ll dive into one of the fastest growing legal problems for clubs: pickleball noise complaints. This new legal issue can draw in local governments and your club’s neighbors as you make room for the fastest growing sport in the world. 

In this day and age, there is no doubt that you have a lot on your plate. To ease that burden a bit, this interactive session will provide you with the tools needed to best protect your club from unwanted litigation and allow you to focus on all of your other little tasks (like making budget or presiding over the creation of a new master plan…you know, the simply stuff).

I can’t wait to see you at HFTP’s Annual Convention in Indianapolis on October 19. The session kicks off at 12:45 p.m.!

Brad Steele, J.D. is founder of Private Club Consultants (PCC), which provides in-depth legal and operational answers for private clubs in America. He is a speaker at the HFTP 2023 Annual Convention, taking place October 18-20 at the JW Marriott Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Indiana USA.

Annual Convention clubs education HFTP hospitality HR Human Resources leadership legal updates