Answer: Not Always
Many businesses have signs on the wall which read “We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone,” but that is not necessarily true. The Federal Civil Rights Act guarantees the right to “full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin." The Americans with Disabilities Act guarantees the right of public accommodation to physically and mentally disabled citizens. Sex, age, veteran status, genetic information and citizenship are also federally protected. Refusing service to anyone based solely on one of these federally-protected classes is definitely illegal. Setting those factors aside, we are oten asked whether businesses have the right to refuse patrons based on their appearance, attitude, sexual orientation or other non-federally protected factors.