Is it lawful to refuse service to a patron in a private club?

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Is it lawful to refuse service to a patron in a private club?

Is it lawful to refuse service to a patron after a quite disturbance? If there was no posted sign saying “we reserve the right to refuse service”.

Asked on July 12, 2011 under Business Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Business generally have a considerable amount of discretion in who they serve. While places of public accomodation (e.g. restaurants, malls, hotels) cannot discriminate on the basis of race or certain other protected categories, that does not mean that they cannot refuse service to someone who is creating a disturbance or threatening to do so; who has threatened or harmed staff or other guests; who has previously created  disturbance or refused to pay for services; etc. So while there cannot be discrimination, they does not deprive businesses of their right to refuse to serve someone for non-discriminatory grounds, including "quiet disturbances," even in the absence of a sign or notice to that effect.


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