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'Tanorexic Mom' Banned from NJ Tanning Salons

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By Andrew Chow, Esq. on May 10, 2012 6:01 AM

The New Jersey "tanning mom" accused of child endangerment has been banned from a chain of tanning salons, the New York Daily News reports.

Tanning mom Patricia Krentcil denies she took her 5-year-old daughter into a tanning booth, which is unlawful in New Jersey for a child under 14. Public attention and ridicule have led one tanning-salon chain to bar Krentcil from its premises.

But is it legal to ban a particular customer from your business?

Generally, yes, if you're a private business owner and you're not discriminating against someone because of a protected trait. Such traits include a person's race, national origin, gender, and religion, according to federal law.

In general, a business also can't discriminate based on a customer's disability, or (in some jurisdictions) sexual orientation.

State laws also prohibit discrimination in places of public accommodation like a tanning salon -- or any business that offers lodging, food, entertainment, sale or rental services, or other professional services.

In banned tanning mom Patricia Krentcil's case, news reports don't say whether she's even patronized the tanning-salon chain that issued the ban. It seems to be a preemptive tactic.

If Krentcil ever tries to challenge the ban, she'll likely have to prove there's an unlawful, discriminatory purpose behind it. News reports don't say why the salon's owners are banning her, but one blogger at the website Gather suggests it's to disassociate themselves from bad publicity if the tanning mom ever steps foot inside their business.

But at least one business is attempting to capitalize on tanning mom Patricia Krentcil's 15 minutes of fame. A Connecticut toymaker is marketing a "tanorexic" action figure based on Krentcil's super-tanned appearance, the Associated Press reports.

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