Can Your Restaurant Refuse Service?

Posted on: September 21, 2017 by Goodrich & Watson

In such a litigious society, it can be difficult to toe the line between legal and illegal. Any restaurant owner wants to serve and feed the people of their communities, but there’s always exceptions. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons you can and CANNOT refuse service to someone in your restaurant. Your daily operations should be protected by a comprehensive and custom tailored VA Restaurant Insurance program.

When is it illegal to refuse service?

You may not refuse service to someone based on their race, religion, sexual preference, or national origin. These are protected classes under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

When is it legal to refuse service?

  • When a customer is violent or rowdy.
  • When people want to come in to sit or loiter instead of being paying customers.
  • When the kitchen or restaurant is technically closed.
  • When you’re at maximum capacity and cannot serve more people without violating your capacity laws.
  • Those who don’t have the proper attire – i.e. no shoes or shirts.

Can I post the “Right to Refuse” Sign?

Yes, but the same laws as mentioned above are applicable to every restaurant.

Is my restaurant considered private property?

Yes, however they are also considered places of public accommodation. In other words, the primary purpose of a restaurant is to sell food to the general public, which necessarily requires susceptibility to equal protection laws. Therefore, a restaurant’s existence as private property does not excuse an unjustified refusal of service. This can be contrasted to a nightclub, which usually caters itself to a specific group of clientele based on age and social status, says Legal Match.

About Goodrich & Watson

At Goodrich & Watson, we strive to provide quality restaurant solutions. From social media ventures to kitchen fires and falls, we’ve got you covered. For more information about our comprehensive coverage, contact us today at (757) 591-2032.

Posted in: blog Restaurant

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