Private club/public restaurant

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Private club/public restaurant

I belong to a private tennis club. There is a bar and restaurant on property that is open to the general public as well as club members. When I joined the club several years ago there was no mandatory minimum members were required to spend in the bar/restaurant. We were at liberty to use the facility or not as each member chose. The club has now instituted a mandatory minimum each member must pay to the restaurant each quarter, again this restaurant is open to the general public. Is it legal to charge members this fee?

Asked on February 11, 2019 under Business Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal. Businesses may charge different people or different categories of customers different rates--witness, for example, airlines and their various reward or preferred flier programs. As long as the differential treatment is not based on race, color, ethinicity, religion, sex, or disability, it is legal. And here, it is not: it is based on whether you voluntarily choose to be or remain a member or not, which is not protected by law.


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