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Refusing entry and service

Occasionally you may need to refuse entry or service to a particular customer.

Some businesses, such as those with liquor licences, are bound by strict rules about who and when they can serve. Licensed venues, for example, have a right to refuse entry to people under 18. However, you should apply rules consistently to all customers or you could be unlawfully discriminating.

If you refuse a customer entry or service, make sure it is because of their behaviour and not just an assumption. For example, some people have disabilities which cause them to slur their speech and they might appear intoxicated when sober.

If you have had a problem with customers from a particular racial group in the past, and you refuse entry to people from that racial group, it could be unlawful race discrimination.

If refusing entry or service, make sure you:

  • base it on the customer's behaviour
  • explain what behaviour was unacceptable and that is why you will not be serving them
  • don't intimidate or threaten them.

Make sure your staff know your policy on refusing entry or service.

Refusing entry because of dress

If you refuse a customer entry because of their dress, take care you are not discriminating. Dress codes generally need to apply equally to everyone. For more information on discriminatory dress codes, see customer dress codes.

Refusing assistance dogs

It is against the law to refuse entry or service because a person has an assistance (guide) dog. All guide dogs must be allowed to accompany their owners, even into eating areas. For more information, see disability access.

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