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

UPDATED: Jul 12, 2011

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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