In a retail store the manager has instructed employees to lock the door when the store has closed, even if customers are still inside. This is to prevent more customers from entering. Is locking the door with customers inside legal? To be clear it is an ordinary lock with the non key side being on the inside (i.e. the customers could let themselves out).

Who would handle such complaints?

  • Just curious why do you think it might be not legal? (Assuming the door and lock are fire code compliant) You should ask separate questions separately.
    – xngtng
    Aug 1, 2021 at 11:35
  • The second question may be related but it's still a separate question. You have a few hundred rep so I doubt anything's stopping you posting it separately. Aug 1, 2021 at 11:35
  • If the customers can let themselves out, why would it be illegal?
    – ColleenV
    Aug 1, 2021 at 11:41
  • That seems to be pretty common practice, I've certainly have seen that done.
    – Hilmar
    Aug 1, 2021 at 18:10
  • @xngtng I'm not sure how the relevant laws are worded but I would imagine it's a blanket statement like "a person must not restrict another person's access from leaving". I guess unlocking the door is trivial, but it would be different if someone tried to defend "the room had a latter and a window they could have climbed through" Aug 1, 2021 at 21:09

1 Answer 1


The customers are able to leave, so there's no reason it could be a crime. Even if they weren't able to operate the lock themselves, they are presumably able to leave by asking a staff member. There is no way this could be remotely considered false imprisonment.

Depending on the layout and size of the store and presence/lack of other fire exits, this might violate fire safety regulations.

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