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An ex-friend works at a store. I know she has a way of manipulating situations in her favor. If I go into the store to purchase items without causing any trouble, could they kick me out of the store just because a worker there doesn’t like me?

If they do kick me out of the store without any real reason, can I bring legal matters into it?

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Legally, they can kick you out for any reason that isn't illegal discrimination. They can't kick you out for being black. They also can't kick you out for being white. But they can kick you out for not liking your face.

Now the question is: Who can kick you out? The store owner obviously can. Anyone who is given the authority by the store owner can. Actually, anyone with the apparent authority can kick you out. However, everyone other than the store owner has been hired to work towards making profits. If throwing you out is bad for business, then whoever did it would have to answer to the store owner.

So the ex-friend can't go to court for throwing you out, but they might get into trouble with their boss about it.

PS. I interpreted "kicking out" as saying "Please leave our premises. If you don't leave then you will be trespassing and I will call the police", not actually kicking the person with your foot which would be most likely assault.

  • There is also the question of actual kicking: can the owner legally plant his boot on my butt if I don't comply, or comply quickly enough? Anyone is permitted to tell me to go away; only the owner or his agents can do so with authority. Ultimately, part of "kicking out" is physical enforcement. – user6726 Jan 24 '18 at 1:16
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    @user6726 Usually, local police are more than happy to physically remove someone from the premises of a shop at the request of the manager on duty at that location in pretty much every country that I've ever visited. – ohwilleke Jan 24 '18 at 2:57
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    Indeed, there is a very good argument that guests in a shop are licensees rather the tenants in almost every case, which means that the shopkeeper or his or her agent can kick you out, EVEN FOR AN ILLEGAL REASON, subject, however, to the risk that the shop will be sued for damages if the reason was illegal by someone wrongfully kicked out for an illegal reason. In the same way, an employer outside a union/civil service context can almost always fire an employee, even if it is illegal for the employer to do so, subject, however, to the right of the wrongfully fired person to sue the employer. – ohwilleke Jan 24 '18 at 3:01
  • No doubt the police will do so: the question is whether, under the scope of "can kick out", a store owner can use force to remove a truculent (non-threatening) customer, without calling the police to enforce the owner's authority. That is, legally speaking, what does "kick out" mean? – user6726 Jan 24 '18 at 4:01
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    @user6726 Generally, proportionate, non-deadly force can be used to prevent or terminate a trespass. Bar bouncers and building/mall security do so all of the time and don't have to have cause (other than having asked someone to leave) to do so. – ohwilleke Jan 24 '18 at 13:36
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You haven't specified which country you are in/referring to.

In (at least) the UK and US, stores reserve the right to refuse to serve customers for any reason. This is provided it isn't something that would infringe on your rights, such as being kicked out because you are of a particular race or religion (a 'protected group'), in which case the store can become the target of a lawsuit over discrimination.

More information (US law)

They can technically do it if the store owner doesn't like you but they would have to provide a valid reason. Yes you can bring in legal matters but I'm not sure if you would have a case (this is not a definitive no - I just don't know). As for whether your former friend can make up a bogus reason that sounds legitimate to the store owner or security, the answer is yes.

The only real way to find out would be to try it. It's possible your former friend will just leave you be.

  • The question was originally tagged united-states so jurisdiction is at least narrowed down a bit. – Nij Jan 24 '18 at 2:05
  • "they would have to provide a valid reason" - no. There is no obligation to provide a reason for kicking you out. – sleske Apr 23 '18 at 9:27
  • Hmm. I didn't know that. Thanks for sharing – user138072 May 12 '18 at 21:37

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