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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  16 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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in new york state, can i legally refuse to serve alcohol to

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in new york state, can i legally refuse to serve alcohol to visibly pregnant women in my restaurant?
Hello and thank you for using JA! My goal is to provide you with excellent service and help with your legal problem.
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As a general rule, a business owner can refuse to sell or serve alcohol to anyone they want to for any or no reason at all as long as they are not refusing to serve them based on an illegal discriminatory reason. There are certain classes shielded from discrimination under the New York City Human Rights Law and include any person’s actual or perceived race, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, disability, marital status, partnership status, sexual orientation, or alienage or citizenship status.
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The NY Human Rights Law states: “It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for any person, being the owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent or employee of any place of public accommodation, resort or amusement, because of the race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, or disability or marital status of any person, directly or indirectly, to refuse, withhold from or deny to such person any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges thereof, including the extension of credit” N.Y. Exec. Law § 296(2)(a).
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The question would be if pregnancy would fall under one of the protected classes and therefore subject you to being sued for discrimination if you refused. The EEOC has sued employers and won when they discriminated against pregnant employees so I would opine that a precedent has been set that is related to pregnancy discrimination in public places.
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The botXXXXX XXXXXne is that I think a pregnant woman could allege unlawful discrimination and file a suit against a restaurant owner and cost them a lot of money either settling it or defending against it. I don't know that the woman would win, but it would be an expensive battle.
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So I would opine that you could refuse to serve a pregnant person, but you would run the risk that the person had a lawyer and was just looking for a business to sue.
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Thanks.

Barrister

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If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” button and I will be happy to continue.

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I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

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