"We reserve the right to refuse service"

You see this in front of restaraunts all the time. What kind of incidents forced them to put up signs like these? Does it violate discrimination laws? Can any business be forced to provide service?

All the time? I’ve never once seen that before.

But sure, if you own the business I assume you have a right to serve, or not serve, whomever you please.

“And the sign said, long haired freaky people need not apply.”

There are certain classes of people aganist whom a public accomodation, such as a restaurant, may not refuse service based solely on that class status. However, if the person is not a member of one of those classes, the restaurant may refuse service as it pleases.

probably because some people don’t realize they can do that. Like people don’t realize free speech can be restricted by individual organizations. So they come in and make trouble and then get all belligerent when the owner or manager tries to kick them out, saying they can’t do that lalala public placecakes racist sexist ageist discriminationitude JOO HAEV 2 SURV MEE OR I CALL POLEECE.

I worked at a place where we had people come in and do that quite a bit and it probably would have saved us some hassle to have it written on the door that no, you won’t sue us or call the police and if you do, they won’t be much help to you.

My impression is that it’s simple “boilerplate.” A legal announcement asserting a long-held right, that is the right of an establishment to choose whom it will do business with, based on a belief (either right or wrong) that without that assertion it may prove costly to defend that right in case of a lawsuit down the road.

I have no idea how effective such an announcement might be, but I also don’t think it’s a bad idea to have posted. It’s unlikely to do any harm and, as Surrender Dorothy suggests, may well have some benefit.
Obligatory SDMB Boilerplate Announcement: (Note: IANAL, and this is only a layperson’s opinion. Worth what you paid for it. YMMV)

Bascially, what it means (And we’ve discussed it a few times here before) is that, if your a jerk I can kick you out of my store.

I actually see more restaurants whose menus bear this disclaimer than ones who have such a sign posted.

It shows up enough that you can’t classify as rare to see it.

It’s a good right to have and we’ve used it before to get rid of jerkish customers.
In retail we’d have regulars who would be beligerant to our employees and consistantly abuse our policies, i.e. try a unit, return it because they didn’t like it, try another one, return it, repeat ad nausea.
We’d be nice, tell them apparently what we carry doesn’t seem to fit their needs, they’d get pissy, say they want to continue trying them out, and it was their RIGHT to shop there and demanded service.
We’d tell them sorry, no it isn’t, buh-bye.

Actually, even if the person is a member of one of those classes, as long as that is not the reason for denying service, the person can be denied service. Right? :confused:

As a veterinarian, I cannot refuse to see a person because they are handicapped. I have, however, refused service to a person who was a jerk, but who also was, coincidentally, handicapped.


OJ Simpson was (somewhat) recently booted from a restaurant because the owner didn’t want him there.

The phrase did inspire a great Kinky Friedman song

While traveling through the Lone Star State
I lost my lunch before I ate,
It happened in a pull-ahead café. Yahoo!
I felt my bones begin to crunch
I saw my name on the businessman’s lunch
And the neck who owned the place stepped up to say:
“Hey buddy, are you blind,
Say, partner, can’t you read the sign ?”
We reserve the right to refuse service to you,
Take your business back to Walgreen’s,
Have you tried your local zoo ?
You smell just like a communist,
You come on through just like a Jew,
We reserve the right to refuse service to you.

You can refuse to serve people that are in protected classes, as long as you aren’t refusing to serve them based on a protected status.

I.E A group of people come in that are drunk and belligerent. One of them is Black. You can refuse to serve the whole group because of their condition, without having to worry about repercussions.

And OJ’s lawyer threatened to play the race card, promting this Pit thread

yeah, you can. You can’t say, “We don’t serve black people here” but if some guy comes in and acts like a jerk, you can turn him out regardless of color.

That was the big problem we had at the restaurant where I worked. It got sort of confusing, though, which is a big part of why I don’t work there anymore. We were in a largely African-American part of town, so a lot of our customers were black. Which meant quite a lot of the time, when somebody acted like enough of an ass to be kicked out, they would threaten to call the police and have us sued for being racist.

… except my bosses really WERE racist. They wouldn’t refuse service to anybody, but they would do just about anything short. Which complicated things a whooooole lot.

I was actually thinking of going back there and seeing if they would give me a job again. After this post, I think it’s probably better if I stay far away from that place

^ How did you like working at Denny’s?

People have an innate respect for the written word that they don’t for the 16 year old manager standing in front of them. Simply pointing to a sign absolves the 16 year old manager of the responsibility of being “the bad guy”. People will respect it with far less arguing if it’s in writing, even if that writing could conceivably have been put in place by the 16 year old manager. See also: email forwards and scams.

I have often seen signs on restaurants like:
No shoes
No shirt
No service
and I see no reason they cannot enfoce these rules against whom they will. About 15 years ago, when I was at a meeting in New Orleans, a restaurant turned away a group of 140 people because about half of us didn’t have suits and ties. And this was for a private room so the other customers would not have to see us. There was even a signed contract (which actually specified suits and ties obligatory somewhere in the fine print).

AIUI, the no shoes aspect is often believed to be a directive from the local Board of Health. I don’t know, for a fact, that’s true, but I believe it may be. If that is the case, they’d be risking their license to serve someone without shoes. (Without shirt is different, I believe.)

Yes. In Ontario, anyone can walk down the public streets without a shirt, but private locations may dictate that shirts be worn.