If I’m a server at a 5 start restaurant and my employer has made it a policy that we have no contact with customers outside of the restaurant, is this legal?

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If I’m a server at a 5 start restaurant and my employer has made it a policy that we have no contact with customers outside of the restaurant, is this legal?

If so, how does this affect friends and families form dinning at the establishment?

Asked on August 31, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country, your employer cannot dictate who the employee can associate with or not with after work hours. What an employee does on his or her free time is the employee's choice. The edict that you have written about is not illegal, but rather is poor judgment on the employer's behalf.

As to forbidding contact with customers outside of a retaurant, logistically it makes it impossible for the server to see customers who are related or are friends. The edict is "poor judgment" by the employer.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

This policy is completely legal--an employer has the right to tell staff to not associate with customers (or, for that matter, coworkers; or former employees; or people at competitive businesses). As a practical matter, this means that your friends and family should NOT dine at the establishment at which you work--since, if you violate the policy, not only could you be fired, but you could be fired "for cause" and therefore be ineligible for unemployment compensation.


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