Eateries have always reserved the right to refuse service. But in the main, the real hospitality code comes down to a simple if paradoxical statement: All are welcome. Terms and conditions apply.
Thankfully, as a culture and by law, the United States continues to move toward increasing inclusivity in communal spaces. No one can deny you service because of your race, religion or national origin. (And in some places, sexual orientation, physical ability and age are also protected classes, while in the District, Seattle and a few other locales, it is illegal to refuse service based on a guest’s political affiliation or views.) At the same time, if you’re an unsavory individual — of whatever persuasion or affiliation — we have no legal or moral obligation to do business with you. And that, too, is right.
Because — and this is important and easily overlooked — at bottom this isn’t about politics. It’s about values, and accountability to values, in business. On a variety of levels, pressure is increasing on companies to articulate and stand by a code. Customers are demonstrating that they want to patronize companies that share their values. Our workforce also increasingly demands that employers establish a set of ethical standards. The once-ubiquitous idea that companies exist purely and solely to provide profit to shareholders is withering away like corn husks in the summer sun.