When Can a Business Refuse Service?

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When Can a Business Refuse Service?

Many people are familiar with the phrase "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone". These words are often found posted in business establishments such as restaurants, retail stores, cinemas, and other places. While businesses have some degree of control over who they provide services and products for, they must still abide by federal, state, and local laws when denying service to a customer.

For instance, businesses still need to abide by constitutional laws such as equal protection and anti-discrimination laws. Thus, a business generally can’t refuse service based on a person’s race, religion, sex, or other "protected characteristics". On the other hand, they can refuse service in situations such as:

What if a Refusal of Service Creates a Legal Conflict?

Refusal of service doesn’t just happen between the business and customers. Sometimes they can happen between businesses who are collaborating in a business contract. Here, a refusal of service can negatively affect the other business, who may depending on the other business’ service in order to generate profit. This can often cause a business dispute and may constitute a breach of contract depending on the circumstances.

In such cases, the refusal of service may basically mean that one business is not performing their contract duties. This may result in a lawsuit and remedies such as monetary damages, or specific performance of the contractual duties.

In other instances, the legal conflict may revolve around a contract that a customer has with the business. In a similar fashion, the business may be held to the terms of the contract if they are found to be in violation due to a refusal of services.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Service Issues?

Refusals of service can sometimes create different legal problems for a business. If you are facing any legal conflicts or disputes due to a refusal of service, you may need to file a claim in court. A qualified attorney can assist you when it comes to filing the papers, and can also provide you with representation during the actual proceedings. Also, your lawyer can inform you of what types of legal remedies are available to you.

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Last Modified: 10-22-2013 12:09 PM PDT

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