March 13th, 2019 | Ken Schnee, General Manager, Hospitality

Law on Hotel Background Checks Could Soon Be a Reality

The Sterling team has been tracking a developing story originally aired on CBS New York that’s bringing Nassau County to the forefront of laws governing background checks in the Hospitality industry. Nassau County could very well be the first jurisdiction in the nation to mandate criminal background checks for hotel employees if a new proposal is passed by Nassau Lawmakers. Following closely are Florida, Pennsylvania, and Arizona, where lawmakers are considering similar legislation.

Do hotels do background checks on guests?

While some hotel chains and properties carry out background checks of prospective employees as a matter of company policy, currently it is not required by law and is completely voluntary and uncommon. Certain checks, like a check for outstanding warrants, could be valuable to a hotel though. With the majority of accommodation services falling under the private industry status, such checks remain inconsistent, sporadic, and are carried out only when mandated by the hotel’s management, if at all.

Do hotels do background checks on guests?

From the employees’ perspective, there are some good measures in place. The American Hotel & Lodging Association’s (AHLA) 5-Star promise, announced last year, provides a great industry precedent for employee protection and safety from external threats, including offensive guests and criminals. However, from the guests’ perspective, the question remains:

Does the hotel I’m staying in have the right measures in place to background check potential employees or to monitor existing ones?

Before we answer the question, here are some facts to consider:

  • The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that after four years of employment, 10% of employees will have been arrested twice!
  • According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are 92 million individual criminal offenders located in State criminal history repositories across the country.
  • Nine out of 10 employers conduct criminal record checks on job applicants, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

Whether required by law or not, the decision to screen candidates and monitor employees will help create an environment of safety and trust for hotel guests and staff. As the global leader in background and identity services, Sterling has everything you need to hire with confidence. With a vision to make the world a safer place, we know people make the difference – especially in the hospitality sector where guest experiences can make or break your brand reputation.

Empowering you to make smarter, faster, safer hiring decisions through advanced technology, accuracy, and industry-leading turnaround time, our core values center around people. With over 40 years of experience, our in-house experts bring deep knowledge in the hospitality sector.

Want to talk about background checks customized for the hotel industry? Need us to just listen? Whatever the reason we would love to help you, click here to contact our Hospitality team.


Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.