Social Question

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Displayed placards stating a business has the right to refuse service to anyone, just how binding is that?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26798points) February 12th, 2014

I am sure we have all seen at one time or another, a business that has a placard stating they can refuse service to anyone, but how legally binding is that? If someone comes in with no shirt and but you don’t have a sign stating all patrons must have a shirt, can you not serve him? What if a person comes in reeking of urine, sweat, and beer, do you have to serve him, can you refuse to serve him and ask him to leave? When can you refuse to serve someone and when do you have to serve them no matter what?

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14 Answers

WestRiverrat's avatar

By federal law if someone comes in without a shirt they cannot be served.

You can refuse service to anyone as long as your lawyer is better than his or hers.

johnpowell's avatar

Are you looking to justify something?

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ (Flutherized answer) Do you think I am trying to justify something?

(Actual answer to that) No, I was wondering based on a conversation a friend and I were having when we seen on in a business we were at and could not come up with an all inclusive criteria where they could use it without being affront of federal law.

johnpowell's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central :: Your history here does lead me to believe you have a agenda. It ain’t about the question with you. It is about pushing a agenda.

josie's avatar

If you own a place of business, you should be able to pick and choose who you like to serve, sort of like if you own your home, you should be able to pick and choose your guests. If you are smart, you will serve everybody since they put money in your pocket. But you have the right to be stupid and limit your clientele.

But “should” is a currently forgotten notion when it comes to the prerogative of ownership. The Federal State has robbed you of such personal preferences. So if you decide to do what is morally right, get ready to be visited by Government Agencies. If you have the resources to fight back, you should. If you do not, you have a tough decision to make.

thorninmud's avatar

Federal law prohibits discrimination based on specific criteria, requiring “full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.”

Some states go further to protect other classes. In California, discrimination based on unconventional dress or sexual orientation is also illegal. That law has been interpreted in the courts to prohibit arbitrary discrimination generally.

The “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service” placards have some legal standing in some states, none in others.

zenvelo's avatar

@josie There is a big difference between opening a business and opening a house. By opening a business you de facto open to everyone to come in, and setting up arbitrary reasons is called discrimination. And discrimination violates the rights of those discriminated against. That’s why it is illegal.

“No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” is a health code issue.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Those signs were at one time sufficient to qualify you to pick and choose your customers. But even then, the major function of the signs was a less than subtle reminder to behave yourself.

bolwerk's avatar

Basically you can refuse to serve anyone for any reason except an illegal reason (e.g., if someone is a member of a protected class). @thorninmud in mud pretty much nailed it.

rojo's avatar

Kinky Friedman is Relevant

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Some thoughtful responses.

However, what if it were not a position of public health or a protected class, what if the person was really filthy and smelled? They would disrupt the pleasure of other patrons but they would be within the health laws and not a protected group. Could you refuse to serve or seat them? What if it were some one in the laundromat singing loudly (and off key) to themselves, can you ask them to leave? They are not breaking any health codes.

eno's avatar

There are laws against that. It would most likely fall under “disturbing the peace”.

The entire protected class is a crock of shit. The property owner is also a protected class. He has property rights. If the government grants him private property rights, then the government shouldn’t have a right to tell him what he can or cannot do on his property. If he doesn’t want fat people, ugly people, dirty people, gays, whites, black customers, or hire such employees, then he should be allowed to do that on his private property (property rights). If someone doesn’t like it, they can take their business elsewhere.

rojo's avatar

@eno, everyone bitches about their rights but no on wants to be reminded of their responsibilities to society that go along with those rights. They live in a society that made it possible for human rights. Try getting them in a despotic dictatorship.

zenvelo's avatar

@eno He doesn’t have to have customers either. If he wants his privacy, he should remain private. If he wants to be a public accommodation, he shouldn’t be discriminatory.

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