Can I refuse service to a customer who is sexually harassing the employees?

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Can I refuse service to a customer who is sexually harassing the employees?

I own a semi-private golf course in California, and there is a customer who comes
in every day and sits in our restaurant from morning until evening and harasses
employees and other customers. He is not violent, and he purchases merchandise
and food, but his language is inappropriate, and he makes female customers and
employees especially uncomfortable with his language and advances towards them.
Do we have the legal right to refuse him service and ask him to leave the
premises?

Asked on July 14, 2016 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

As long as you are not refusing service due to a protected characteristic, such as his race or religion, yes, you can legally refuse service to customers or potential customers who are disruptive in some way, including by harassing other customers or employees. In fact, you almost *must* refuse his custom: if you allow a customer to harass female employees, you could potentially face a sexual harassment claim by your female staff, for allowing hostile work environment.


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