Viral Photo Is A Reminder That Businesses Reserve The Right To Refuse Service
A local bar is sticking to their guns when it comes to their new dress code.
When I woke up this morning, my home screen was filled with an insane amount of Facebook notifications. Apparently, I (along with the Hot 1079 Facebook page) had been tagged in the comments of a post that was making plenty of waves on Facebook.
The following photo was posted by Yvette Comeaux, who was upset about being denied entry into Whiskey River—a bar and night club in Henderson known for their live Cajun and Zydeco music.
“The place to be on Sunday afternoon! Allons Danser!” is posted on their Facebook page, but unfortunately there would be no dancing for Comeaux and others who were turned away because of a new dress code implemented by the owners of Whiskey River.
Comeaux was not alone, as Facebook user Magan Antoine posted a photo of two other women wearing “short shorts.” Allegedly, the woman on the left was allowed in while the woman on the right was denied entry for violating the new dress code.
Obviously, there is always more than one side to a story, so we reached out to the owner of Whiskey River Bar even thought the original Facebook post by Yvette (above) has hundreds of public comments that include the owners chiming in as well as a ton of other questions, drama, photos, trolling, opinions, album promotion (seriously, Dustin Sonnier promoted his music) and genuinely confused people.
But regardless of how you feel, or whether you couldn’t care less about Yvette’s shorts, this situation serves as a reminder of one thing:
Every business “reserves the right to refuse service.”
From nightclubs and bars, to restaurants and corner stores—somewhere along the way, you’ve probably seen those words on a sign hanging in the window of a business. The statement itself is pretty simple, but the act of “refusing service” is where things can get pretty complicated.
Legally, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 draws the line on discrimination, prohibiting “public accommodations from refusing service to customers because of skin color, race, religion, sex, nationality, or any physical conditions a customer can’t prevent.”
It gets very complicated, and if you want to dig deeper there is a really good read on it that you can check out by clicking here.
Things like dress/style codes, or any rules that a business may have in place allows them to lawfully deny service to a customer if they feel their business may suffer from engaging with them as long as denying that service isn’t based on the things mentioned above.
Beyond the obvious reaction of feeling singled out or embarrassed, the issue that seems to always come up when it comes to dress codes is inconsistency. It’s nearly impossible to avoid unless you have a clear cut set of rules that outlines specific measurements, articles of clothing, etc.
For example, if someone at the door of a sports bar is told they can’t get in because their “flat billed hat” is not allowed and they point out a few guys inside that are wearing flat-billed hats, it would be understandable if they felt frustrated or that the person working the door was discriminating against them.
That’s where another tricky word enters the picture: Discretion.
I’ve actually been in that exact situation before, but that’s another conversation for another day.
For what it’s worth, businesses and customers should both be aware of the difference between lawful and unlawful discrimination. It should also be noted that all lawful discrimination doesn’t always necessarily play well in the court of public opinion (especially in this day and age of social media), as we see in Yvette’s situation with the Whiskey River Bar.
For those confused or unhappy with their new dress code, the venue had this to say.
In the end, there’s always the old saying: “If you don’t like it, don’t go.”
And it’s really that simple.