Can a private school selectivly enforce payment policies?

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Can a private school selectivly enforce payment policies?

We are behind on our tuition. The school has a policy that families cannot enroll students if they owe tuition for previous years. There are at least 7 other families who are delinquent, and some owe more than we do. The school is not and has not enforced this policy on any family other than ours for next school year.

Asked on August 9, 2016 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can. The law does not require a private business to fairly, consistently, or even-handedly enforce payment policies: a business can deny services to some people with unpaid balances or dun them for payment while ignoring other deliquent customers. The only exception would be IF you can show that they are doing this due to racial or religious reasons--i.e. you are being discriminated against on these grounds--you may have a discrimination claim, but be warned: private schools, unlike public schools or public places of accommodation (like restaurants) are not necessarily always restricted by the anti-discrimination laws. Depending on the circumstances (how they advertise, their mission, whether they accept any public funding or support, etc.), they may not be liable even if they did discriminate. If you think discrimination is going on, speak to a civil rights or education lawyer to discuss your rights.


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