No shirt, no shoes, no service (legal)

Is there a basis in law (state of Maine, in particular) for this? Or is it just company policy, driven by insurance companies?

The question came up today at a gas station, where a recalcitrant customer insisted that he should be allowed into the store barefoot regardless of store policy. He demanded a cite of state law. From my point of view, state law is irrelevant, and he could certainly be asked to remain off the premises so long as he is shoeless, or be considered trespassing.

So, legal Dopers…?

State law isn’t irrelevant, but here it probably favors the business rather than the “recalcitrant customer” (although I’m not sure that “customer” is the right word). If there were a statute that prohibited a business from discriminating on the basis of shoelessness or shirtlessness, then a shoeless or shirtless visitor might have a point.

But I will be very surprised if any such statute applies. Absent a statute, then the common law applies, in which case a landowner – including a business – can decide for itself who can enter upon its property and on what terms. One who enters upon another’s land is either an invitee, “[a] person who has an express or implied invitation to enter or use another’s premises, such as a business visitor or a member of the public to whom the premises are held open,” also known as a “business guest”; a licensee, “[o]ne who has permission to enter or use another’s premises, but only for one’s own purposes and not for the occupier’s benefit”; or a trespasser. Since this business has determined that shoeless, shirtless individuals are not welcome on its premises, and unless some applicable law invalidates that determination, the “recalcitrant customer” is actually a trespasser.

Definitions quoted from Bryan A. Garner, Black’s Law Dictionary (7th ed. 1999).

I believe that health regulations often prohibit shoelessness and/or shirtlessness in establishments that offer food, which might also include a gas station that has any sort of food for sale.

Sooo…if shoes and shirts are mandated, by exclusion are pants optional? :dubious:

Under the common law pants may indeed be optional but the state probably has an indecent exposure or disturbing the peace law which would prohibit pantlessness and/or allow the owner to refuse service to the pantless.

A common misconception. Businesses often say that the Department of Health has regulations to this effect, but that’s just so customers won’t give them a hard time.

For instance, the NY State Department of Health web pages have no entry for “barefoot food,” “barefoot restaurants,” “shoeless,” or “shirtless” (using Google site search). It is an urban legend that there are health department regulations prohibiting a lot of business policies (e.g., return of bathing suits or other personal items).

A store can set up this policy as long as it is enforced equally with everyone. “No shirts” at a topless bar might give you a reason to file a discrimination suit ;), but as long as all customers are required to wear shirts or shoes, then it’s legal.

:cool: Some liquer commisions have prohibited liquer selling establishments from serving naked or nude customers in a bid to prohibit lap dancing and other lewd behavior.

Isn’t it also for customer safety-at least the shoes part. How many stores have things broken accidentally, spills, etc?

I have a distinct memory of never seeing that sign when I was a kid – all us scruffy little ragamuffins wearning nothing but a pair of shorts would happily bound into 7-11 or the gas station or the grocery store.

I think it actually came into widespread use during the mid/late 1960s when we scruffy little ragamuffins had grown into dirty, sleazy hippies who scared the squares and the straights. If The Man couldn’t shut us out entirely, at least he could make us wear a shirt.

Soon, the tireless efforts of barefoot special interest groups will put the lie to this charade! Join the Society for Barefoot Living today!