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Thursday, April 28, 2005

we don't serve bin Ladens here! 
Seven men of Middle Eastern descent (read: Arabs) are suing a Denny’s franchise in South Florida for $28 million because they believe that the manager on duty discriminated against them and compared each man to Osama bin Laden.

Quick background, according the lawsuit: In January, 2004, seven Arab men go into a Denny’s at 2am. They are seated, given menus, and ordered. Their food had not come an hour after ordering, so one of them goes to the counter to inquire. The manager on duty allegedly says “bin Laden is the manager of the kitchen” and “bin Laden is in charge”. One of the Arabs question the manager as to why he used the name Bin Laden, and the manager replied “We don’t serve bin Ladens here! You guys, out!” So the Arab gentlemen eventually left. No complaint was ever filed.

Now, while I would claim myself to be a decent constitutional scholar, I don’t know much about civil rights law. So if someone could clue me in as to the legality of this manager’s actions, that’d be great. Because while it might be wrong, in a moral sense, could it possibly be illegal? I was under the impression that most, if not all, business have the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason. Am I way off base here? So what if the manager called the group of Arab men “bin Ladens” and then told them to leave? I can’t imagine myself in that situation wanting to stay at the restaurant.

Maybe Denny’s should send these guys some coupons for a free breakfast or something. I really don’t think that they deserve $4 million each for their inconvenience. Then again, it did take them nearly a year and a half to file any type of complaint, so the veracity of their claim can be challenged.
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