I am currently working a job where there is a regular customer who appears to be homeless. She is filthy and smells dreadful. She visits my place of work nearly everyday, sometimes more than once. Additionally, she lies incessantly if you engage with her (for no apparent reason) and repeatedly asks for free stuff. She is likely mentally ill, but I have little empathy for her as she is a complete nightmare to be around.

I would like to refuse service to this lady so I don't have to deal with or smell her any more. She spends very little money here, so the loss of a regular customer doesn't matter here.

Is this legal to do? It is my guess that there may be some regulation as to cleanliness in public environments, but I know very little about the law.

I reside in Virginia, if that matters in this case.

  • Does the business serve food and beverages? If so, there may be valid health and sanitation reasons to refuse to allow them on the premises. Commented Nov 9, 2023 at 23:24

1 Answer 1


Being filthy/stinky is not a protected class in Virginia or the United States. But you have to be careful because ultimately the fact finder cannot read your mind. Discrimination is not allowed based on disability or medical conditions for example and the other side could argue that you discriminated based on such a protected class.

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