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Can I Ban Selfie Sticks at my Business?

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By Christopher Coble, Esq. on April 21, 2015 3:55 PM

Ah the selfie stick. It was named one of the 25 best inventions of 2014 by TIME last year.

Despite its popularity and obvious amazing-ness, the selfie stick has been feeling a lot of hate lately. It's being banned at concert venues, museums, and even at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference. Admittedly, selfie sticks can be a hazard in enclosed crowded areas and among priceless art and artifacts.

With so many places banning selfie sticks, can your business do the same?

Bye-Bye Selfie Sticks

As a business owner, you own private property. Even though you open that property up to the public, you can impose rules and restrictions on the people who come into your business. As long as those restrictions don't violate a law, you can ban almost anything you want.

So yes, you can ban selfie sticks. You can even ban taking selfies!

Banning No-No's

Some things are protected by law, so you can't ban the following from your business:

Breastfeeding

Most states have laws that allow a mother the right to breastfeed in any place, public or private, where she has a right to be. This includes your business if you've opened it up to the public. In addition, twenty-seven states and the federal governments have laws requiring employers provide an area where mothers can breastfeed or pump at work.

Special Groups of People

Title II of the Civil Rights Act promises, "All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation ... without discrimination on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin."

This means you can't ban a person based on any of the protected grounds of race, color, religion, or national origin. Other federal laws extend the protection to disability and sexual orientation. However, this does not mean you can't ban kids, or someone who shoplifted before.

Service Animals

Under the American with Disabilities Act, you can't ban service animals in your business. You also can't question the customer's disability or the service animal's training, or require proof that the animal is a service animal.

So, unless legislation is enacted to protect the right of the people to have selfie sticks, feel free to ban them from your business. If you're considering banning anything else, check with an experienced local business attorney first to make sure it isn't protected by law.

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