Know your right to access public places

There are laws to protect you from discrimination by business establishments and other places open to the public. Learn about your rights and what to do if you experience discrimination.

What is protected

Places open to the public cannot treat you differently because of your:  

  • Age
  • AIDS/HIV status
  • Ancestry
  • Color
  • Creed (your beliefs and your habits based on those beliefs)
  • Disability 
  • Gender identity
  • Height
  • National origin
  • Place where you were born
  • Race
  • Religion 
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation 
  • Weight

What public places are covered

The laws against discrimination in public accommodations cover a wide range of business establishments and public places. These may include, but are not limited to:

  • Retail stores
  • Restaurants, bars, and nightclubs
  • Theaters and event venues
  • Hotels and motels
  • Hospitals and medical offices
  • Barber shops and beauty salons
  • Nonprofit organizations that have offices open to the public

What this means

Public places and businesses may not exclude you or limit your access based on your personal characteristics. For example, they can not:

  • Refuse you services
  • Charge different prices
  • Advertise in a way that excludes or limits you
  • Provide different home delivery services 

If you have been discriminated against, you can file a complaint with the City.


California state law protections and enforcement

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is responsible for investigating complaints of discrimination in violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits many forms of discrimination by business establishments in California. DFEH prosecutes violations of the Unruh Act and helps to resolve complaints. The minimum  

California Department of Fair Employment and Housing

Phone: 800-884-1684




Last updated May 19, 2022