Can a Wisconsin restaurant refuse service to a person with emphysema?

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Can a Wisconsin restaurant refuse service to a person with emphysema?

My father in law had a bad coughing spell related to his emphysema in a restaurant recently. The owner requested he not patronize the restaurant because he’s noticed other customers are now ‘shunning’ the restaurant. Emphysema is not contagious, though it’s not pleasant to watch someone who is wracked with a coughing spell. He has not refused service, but want to be prepared if we do return dad’s favorite restaurant, been patronizing it for 50 years.

Asked on June 12, 2018 under Personal Injury, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If it can be reasonably demonstrated to harm their business, then yes, they can. The obligation to make reasonable accommodations the disabled does not extend to the obligation to lose money or customers. People don't want to eat around someone hacking and coughing loudly for a prolonged period of time: his bad coughing spell could very possibly drive customers off. That would justify asking him to not patronize the restaurant.


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