Recently I visited a franchise of a major shipping company. I witnessed verbally abusive behavior between two employees there. I was so astonished that I immediately reported this to the store headquarters online. However, as it turns out my complaint was forwarded to the owner who was in fact the abuser in this situation, and her husband was the other employee she was treating poorly.

I found this out when she wrote me a very nasty retaliatory email banning me from her store. When I reached out to the company they said that the store owners are allowed to refuse service & that they forwarded this information to the area supervisor.

However, what I find most upsetting about this is that the company itself seems to be supporting the owner and her abusive behavior in this way, not that I necessarily want to go back to the store.

I'm in California. Is this legal?

  • 2
    If it's a franchise, the owner is her own boss. The franchise holder company is not in the position to support or penalize her. They could cancel the license but they apparently won't.
    – Greendrake
    Jan 2, 2019 at 9:30

1 Answer 1


A store owner may ban any person from that store that s/he chooses, provided that the ban is not for a reason forbidden by applicable anti-discrimination law, such as banning all people of a particular race or religion. That does not appear to be the case in this situation, from the description.

Since this is a franchise, the store has a local owner who is not the chain company. The company will have a franchise contract with the local owner, which will specify in what ways the company can and cannot control the store. They might or might not have the power to require the store owner not to ban you, or not to engage in verbally abusive behavior in the store. In any case, you, or any third party, cannot force them to exercise such power, even if they have it under such a contract. It is very unlikely that law enforcement the authorities will treat the verbal harassment as a crime based on a customer report.

You could publicize the situation, as by an online review, which might cause the chain company to take some action, for fear of bad publicity. But be careful. You have already learned that your initial understanding of the situation was significantly incomplete. If any public statements you make are untrue, and harmful to reputation, you could be accused of defamation and sued, perhaps successfully.

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