Refusal of Service

Refusal of Service


Occasionally people may be refused entry or service.

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, rules should be applied consistently to all customers or it could be unlawfully discriminating.

If customer entry or service is refused, 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 there has been a problem with customers from a particular racial group in the past, and it results in refusing entry to people from that racial group, it could be unlawful race discrimination.

If refusing entry or service, make sure :

  • it is based it on the customer's behaviour
  • you can explain what behaviour was unacceptable
  • you don't intimidate or threaten them.

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

Refusing entry because of dress

If customer entry is refused because of dress, take care this is not discrimination. 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.