Can California Businesses Refuse To Serve Trump Supporters? (What Do The State’s Discrimination Laws Say About It?)
On behalf of Rager Law Firm posted on October 06, 2018
Having political differences with your friends or family members is one thing, but what if an employee or company chooses to discriminate against customers or visitors because of their political belief?
We all have our own opinion regarding politics, but can a business or individual worker refuse to serve you just because you voted for Donald Trump, Republicans or Democrats?
Under California law, it is illegal to discriminate against an employee for his or her political activities and affiliations. But do not be naïve to think that you will be protected by California law against all forms of discrimination on the basis of political beliefs. While you do have a right to free speech under the Bill of Rights, this right the main purpose of it to protect Americans against government discrimination rather than discrimination by private businesses.
Political discrimination in the Trump era
Ever since Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, everything has gotten bizarrely political in the United States. Nearly everyone has his or her own political opinion, and everyone is eager to express it. But sometimes, expressing your political beliefs can lead to trouble.
Our Los Angeles discrimination attorney at Rager Law Offices has handled multiple cases of customers being discriminated against for political reasons. But can an employee or business in California discriminate against customers due to their political beliefs? Or does it amount to political discrimination?
Does California prohibit discrimination based on political beliefs?
The short answer is: these waters remain quite murky. You may have heard about a recent lawsuit in which a Trump supported sued a New York bar that refused to serve him because he was wearing the “Make American Great Again” hat, which was made popular during Trump’s presidential campaign.
The New York court dismissed the lawsuit because state laws do not prohibit political discrimination. If the Trump support were to file a political discrimination lawsuit in California, his case would have looked more promising. That isn’t to say, however, that California laws are flawless or any less confusing.
It’s possible to sue for being discriminated against due to expressing your political opinion in California
“The problem is that multiple courts in California have given the term ‘discrimination’ a much broader meaning,” says our experienced discrimination attorney in Los Angeles. Under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, businesses are prohibited from engaging in various forms of discrimination, including but not limited to discrimination based on gender, skin color, national origin, religion, race, marital status, immigration status, sexual orientation, disability, and many more.
But the long list of characteristics protected by California’s anti-discrimination law does not include “political belief” or “political opinion.” And that’s where it gets even more confusing.
Various California courts have expanded the list of protected characteristics. In fact, there have been multiple lawsuits in which courts in California sided with the plaintiff suing an employer, employee or business for discriminating against him or her for political reasons.
As of today, California courts do not share a unanimous and unambiguous stance on political belief discrimination, which is why you may have a chance to file a lawsuit if you have been discriminated against on the basis of your political opinion as a worker or customer. Get a free consultation from our Los Angeles discrimination attorney for a case evaluation. Call Rager Law Offices at 310-527-6994 today.