Can A Business Refuse Service for Rudeness?
Can a business refuse service to anyone? Well, the answer is no, owing to how businesses are not allowed to discriminate among their customers. What this means is that a business cannot refuse service to its customers based on the individual’s age, sexual orientation, gender, disability or race. With that being said, there are a number of circumstances and scenarios where refusing customers might be completely justified. Here’s an account of such scenarios:
Regardless of how much the law might discourage discrimination, it does not mean that businesses cannot provide specialized services to its customers. If a business intends to provide some specialized service to discriminated-against people who are covered in the law, so as to reduce the disadvantage that they face, then it is completely justified for the business to do so. For instance, a business can choose to provide specialized counselling services and choose only young people as its target market. It would be completely legal.
It is a fact that the law is against discrimination in general, but that does not mean that it discourages businesses from earning profits. This is the reason why the law allows discrimination under reasonable circumstances. What this means is that an insurance company can refuse to provide its policies to certain individuals, if it can prove that such an event would not be in the best benefit of the company. The insurance company will, however, need to take such decisions on the basis of reasonable actuarial data and statistics.
If you are a business that has got a dress code for your customers to follow, then the law will not prevent you from implementing it. For example, if you are a business that has got a thing against customers dressed in thongs, then you will be completely justified in refusing customers who do not follow the house rule of banned thongs. With that being said, however, you will need to ensure that the rules are applied to everyone equally, across the board. What this means is that a business cannot choose to apply the rules to a certain individual or groups of people. The business cannot set such rules that certain classes of people are unable to meet.
The law does not prevent businesses from the protection of their properties and interests, nor does it discourage learning lessons from the past. What this means is that a business will be completely justified in denying its services to a group of rowdy teenagers who have caused damage to the business in the past. It is because the business is not refusing service to them as a preemptive measure, considering that they are teenagers; rather the business is denying service based on how the same group of teenagers had caused harm to the business in the past. Remember: a business cannot deny service on the basis of age or gender, but it can do so on the basis of past disruptive behaviour.
While following the anti-discrimination laws, the law will certainly not mandate a business to break it. What this means is that the law will not force any business to provide service to a customer if it would be against the law. To better understand this, consider the example of a bar. The bar cannot serve alcohol to people under the age of eighteen, considering how a person has to be a minimum of eighteen years old to consume alcohol. If the bar entertains the request of such an individual, then the bar would be breaking the law and not abiding by it.
A majority of you must have been annoyed by the requirements of minimum height and age on certain rides in amusement parks. However, you should know that such requirements do not come under discriminatory behaviour. It is because these requirements are placed for the protection of the customers. So, the next time a child is denied a thrilling because of the absence of an adult, the child would be better off by bringing an adult rather than going to the authorities.
The law has made clear that denying service in situations that do not involve the aforementioned circumstances would be illegal. So, can a business deny service based on rudeness? Well, the fact of the matter is that “rudeness” is an ambiguous term which might not necessarily justify the denial of service. It’s advisable, therefore, for businesses to consult an experienced attorney in this regard because the answer will vary from situation to situation!