Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Where can I file a complaint about a restaurant or hotel?
A. We suggest you first contact the manager of the establishment. If there is any concern of safety or sanitation, contact the appropriate regulatory agency, i.e., Oregon Health Authority. ORLA is a trade organization representing the hospitality industry, we are not a regulatory agency, so we do not register complaints regarding businesses.
Q. Where can we post a job opening?
A. There are a number of job posting sites including Snag for hourly job marketplace postings. Many hospitality businesses also use PoachedJobs.com. ORLA does not offer a job posting site for members at this time.
Q. Where can I get a list of restaurants in Oregon?
A. ORLA members can request a list of restaurants in Oregon, including custom parameters based on location, category, and size of operation. However, we do not share email addresses.
Q. How do I submit an article or press release to be published in one of the association’s publications?
A. ORLA will give consideration to articles and news relevant and valuable to the industry. Please review our submission guidelines on ORLA’s website.
Q. How do I reprint my Food Handler Card?
A. Once you have passed the Food Handler course, you may return at any time to OregonFoodhandler.com reprint your Food Handler Card.
Q. I’ve been locked out of the Alcohol Server Course online, how do I get back in?
A. Please contact ORLA’s training support line at 866.679.6733.
OPERATIONS / TIPS / WAGES / TAXES
Q. As an owner, can I participate in a tip pool if my primary role that day is serving food?
A. Restaurant owners are not permitted to participate in tips, period. Federal guidelines have been in flux and they are still a little vague with regard to managers and supervisors, however. We are still waiting for the rulemaking process on these definitions to occur with the US Department of Labor. We recommend you seek legal counsel for specific questions regarding tip pooling. For more info, read ORLA's one-page summary on Tip Pooling.
Q. What’s the difference between tips and service charges?
A. Tips are discretionary (optional or extra) payments determined by a customer that employees receive from customers. Tips include: a) Cash tips received directly from customers, b) Tips from customers who leave a tip through electronic settlement or payment, c) The value of any non-cash tips, such as tickets, or other items of value, d) Tip amounts received from other employees paid out through tip pools or tip splitting, or other formal or informal tip sharing arrangement, e) Certain factors are used to determine whether payments constitute tips or service charges: 1) The payment must be made free from compulsion; 2) The customer must have the unrestricted right to determine the amount; 3) The payment should not be the subject of negotiations or dictated by employer policy; and generally, the customer has the right to determine who receives the payment.
Q. Can employers charge employees a fee for tips paid by credit card?
A. It is legal for the restaurant to pay the employee the amount of the tip less the same percentage of the credit card processing fee on that sale. It is not legal for the restaurant to take the full amount of the processing fee for the entire order out of the tip income.
Q. Is there an OSHA requirement for what must be in a first aid kit for restaurants?
A. OSHA has outlined standards with a list of “minimally acceptable” first-aid supplies. The US Dept. of Labor states, "Employers are required to provide medical and first aid personnel and supplies commensurate with the hazards of the workplace. The details of a workplace medical and first aid program are dependent on the circumstances of each workplace and employer.”
Q. How long do I need to keep credit card receipts from customers?
A. You must securely retain legible copies of all sales drafts and credit drafts or any other transaction records for:
Q. Can I have an expiration date on the gift cards I sell?
A. Oregon statutes require gift cards to be issued without an expiration date, if sold at full value. There are exceptions, ie., if donated or provided at a discount that the law does not apply.
Q. Where do I find wage and salary information for the hospitality industry?
A. ORLA members have access to a number of resources and links on ORLA’s website for industry information. General salary information can also be found:
Q. How long do I need to retain personnel records after the employee has left?
A. As a general rule and unless a statute expressly requires they be maintained longer, it's generally recommended that all employee-related records be retained for at least three 3 years after the employee’s separation from employment. A few items should be kept longer than 3 years and include: Employment contracts and handbook acknowledgements (at least 6 years following termination); Records of on-the-job injuries or illnesses, including the details of each incident for employers with 10 or more employees (5 years after the occurrence, or 30 years if exposure to toxins involved); 401k and retirement plans, election forms, documentation regarding eligibility and vesting determinations, and records of contributions (at least 7 years).
Q. Where do I find lodging tax information and rates?
A. The Oregon Department of Revenue collects the statewide lodging tax (1%), but does not administer local lodging taxes for cities or counties. For general information and resources on the statewide lodging tax, visit the Department of Revenue: Business Taxes. ORLA members have access to local lodging tax information and resources (log in required).
Q. Are incidental guest expenses such as pet fees and crib fees to be included in calculating state lodging taxes?
A. If a separate fee is charged for a service and the service is optional, that fee is not subject to the state lodging tax. Examples of optional services include, but are not limited to: pay-per-view movies, room service, use of an honor bar or restaurant meals charged to the room. If a separate fee is charged for a service and the service is not optional, or if the value of a service is included in the standard lodging rate, the amount allocated to the service is subject to the state lodging tax. Examples of fees for non-optional services include, but are not limited to: cleaning service fees, pet charges, fee for providing an extra bed, service fees and processing fees. See Oregon Lodging Tax for more info.
LEGAL / LEGISLATIVE / REGULATORY / COMPLIANCE
Q. Who can I contact with a question regarding a specific law / regulation / legislative issue?
A. If you have legal questions relating to employment law or regulatory issues, we recommend you contact legal counsel. Otherwise, if it’s a general question regarding industry-specific issues, contact ORLA Government Affairs at 503.682.4422 or 800.462.0619.
Q. Can I refuse service to a customer with an emotional support animal (ESA) in my restaurant?
Businesses do not have the legal obligation to admit a comfort animal if there is a "no pets" policy, as under the ADA these animals are in essence "pets." However, if an ESA is excluded (ie, out of control or not trained) the business must still give the individual the opportunity to obtain goods, services, and accommodations without having the animal on the premises. Service animals are allowed to accompany people with disabilities in our restaurant and any areas open to the general public. As a reminder, you may ask only two questions, 1) Is the animal required because of a disability; and/or 2) What work or task has the animal been trained to perform. Read more here.
Q. Can a lodging facility save a block of rooms that they do not allow pets to stay in, including service animals?
A. This specific example is not directly addressed in ADA publications, but the main point of ADA law is to ensure “equivalent service to those with disabilities.” In the case that a block of non-animal designated rooms were the only rooms left available for the night, and a patron with a service animal arrived, the hotel would not be allowed to refuse service to this individual based on the designation of allergenic rooms. Additionally, this block of rooms could not offer more or better amenities or services than those rooms provided for other guests. Businesses that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed. Read more at ADA Requirements for Service Animals.
Q. Where can I find info regarding state, county or city laws that address, "no shirt... no service", policies?
A. Scenarios in which refusals of service are warranted by law typically include situations where a customer’s presence would put the safety and welfare of the customer herself and/or others at risk. While state-specific health and duty of care laws vary, a place of public accommodation may typically refuse to serve a customer if:
Q. Are commercial lodging facilities required by state law to have a phone in each guest room?
A. In short, no. Statutes and administrative rules governing the licensing and operation of commercial lodging facilities do not require the availability of telephones. However, it is advised you check with your specific building code requirements.
Q. Can I require random drug testing in my business?
A. Yes but workforce random testing programs should include the entire workforce. To eliminate or excuse certain employees from the company random testing program would expose an employer to discriminatory, liability and other legal issues. An employer has the right to customize a workforce random testing program to include the entire workforce but set the frequency and total number of tests to be done annually to their desired needs and ensure the “scientific” selection process included a pool of the entire workforce.
Q. What are my legal requirements in letting staff know of the weekly rate increase in the rooms they stay in?
A. The rates for the rooms should be clearly notified to the worker and set forth in the company’s policies and procedures, otherwise clearly notify in writing so there is no confusion. That notice should be saved in their records with some note indicated who was notified and when.
Q. Is it legal to require employees (servers) to provide a small, initial outlay of cash to be used as change, the amount of which they keep at the end of the shift (in other words, the servers never lose any money by using their own funds as change)?
A. Although there isn’t a specific prohibition of this kind of practice, the state’s wage and hour regulations do not permit certain charges/costs to be passed on to an employee. For more information, visit BOLI’s Wage and Hour Division.
Q. Does a portable pool lift meet ADA requirements?
A. If a portable lift was purchased after March 15, 2012, the obligation to remove barriers is an ongoing one. If it becomes readily achievable to attach the lift to the pool at a later date you must do so. Read more pool lift FAQs at ADA.gov.
Q. Can I charge overnight parking fees in the hotel garage for ADA / accessible spaces?
A. Yes; the language around "accessible parking" is only specific to having available a certain number of accessible parking spots and giving access to those spots, not any fees associated. So, if overnight parking is charged for all guests, that includes ADA /accessible spaces too. For more questions, contact the Northwest ADA Center.
Q. What advice do you have on workplace drug policies (including marijuana)?
A. Employers are advised to have a clear policy, ensure employees are aware of the policy, and be sure the policy is consistently enforced. Read more at Expert Beacon.
Q. What is Oregon Department of Revenue's policy relating to federal employee exemptions relating to lodging taxes for Oregon lodging stays?
A. As a reminder to Oregon lodging properties, the Oregon Department of Revenue does not require federal employees traveling on official business to provide exemption certificates; government identification is all that is required to receive the exemption from transient occupancy tax. However, there are some lodging localities that do require more than a simple indication on the return to show a federal employee is exempt including Salem and Portland. For more information on state lodging tax, visit Oregon.gov/DOR/programs/businesses/Pages/lodging.aspx.
MEMBERSHIP / ASSOCIATION
Q. Can I fill out an online membership application?
A. Yes. Go to OregonRLA.org/Membership and click the link for the type of membership you are interested in, then complete the online form and pay by credit card.
Q. How do I update my profile?
A. Members of ORLA can log in to OregonRLA.org to access premium information and resources, register for classes and events, renew their membership, and update their member profiles and contact information. If you are looking for your credentials, contact Membership@OregonRLA.org or call 503.682.4422.
Q. How do I find out my (NRA or AHLA) member number?
A. Restaurants can contact NRA at 855.514.8115 or email Membership@restaurant.org. Hotels can contact AHLA at 202.289.3100 or email Membership@ahla.com.
Q. How do I log in to the Online Buyer's Guide?
A. Contact Membership@OregonRLA.org if you need your credentials.
Q. How can I become an endorsed provider of ORLA?
A. Allied members interested in the potential for an endorsed business relationship with ORLA must meet a set of criteria. While not the sole determinants for such consideration of endorsed service, the criteria provide guidance as to what meets “suitability” for consideration, including five key factors for endorsement consideration. To discuss possible endorsement by ORLA, contact Director of Development, Marla McColly, at MMcColly@oregonrla.org.
Q. Is my PAC contribution tax deductible?
A. Any contribution to ORLAPAC is a political contribution, which is not deductible but may qualify for an Oregon tax credit. A suggested political contribution has been included in your dues statement. ORLA estimates the non-deductible portion of your dues; the portion which is allocated to lobbying is 33%.
Q. How can we get a copy of a W-9 for ORLA?
A. The accounting department can provide a W-9 for ORLA, ORLA Member Services, Northwest Foodservice Show, ORLA Education Foundation, and ORLAPAC upon request. Call 503.682.4422 or email Info@OregonRLA.org.