Shot if you do, sued if you don’t

by Walter Olson on September 8, 2010

“There’s no doubt delivering food is a risky job — it routinely ranks on the U.S. Bureau of Labor’s most-dangerous jobs list — and after last week’s much-publicized robbery of a Chinese food deliveryman, some restaurants might be inclined to avoid delivery to high-crime areas. But in doing so, restaurants might open themselves up to civil litigation regulating anti-discrimination practices, essentially creating a catch-22 for the businesses, legal experts said.” [Harrisburg Patriot-News]

{ 10 comments }

1 Jack Wilson 09.08.10 at 8:29 am

In a free country, a business has the right to decide who its customers are.

2 Frogfucius 09.08.10 at 8:55 am

Haha.
One of the guys in the article compares fire department service to food delivery. Seriously? Who’s going to die or have their house burn down if they don’t get their pizza?

The businesses should have a right to set their own delivery zones.

3 John Burgess 09.08.10 at 9:51 am

Taxi drivers have the same issue. Taxi cab commission in various cities have tried to find ways to both protect drivers and ensure that people can get where they need to go, not always successfully.

4 Squirrels 09.08.10 at 11:33 am

This sounds like a job for the Deliverator.

5 robozo 09.08.10 at 6:25 pm

And in the next more recent post on overlawyered it seems that differential pricing is protected for women, and presumably for any other group. Seems like delivery company’s legal teams should figure out how this is done while continuing to get the green light in court. Granted, the hurdle of public opinion will be higher for the pizza case as it will amount to charging folks more who live in distressed neighborhoods (who tend to be poor and ethnic) whereas ladies night only means charging males more.

6 J.T. Wenting 09.09.10 at 1:14 am

“In a free country, a business has the right to decide who its customers are.”

Unless those customers are “protected groups” like blacks, homosexuals, Muslims, illegal aliens, etc. etc. etc.
And the most dangerous areas delivery services would be avoiding are largely black neighbourhoods, as that’s typically the high crime areas of modern US cities.
Thus their policy would be explained by lawyers, CAIR, NAACP, etc. etc. as being discriminatory against blacks, stereotyping blacks as criminals, refusing to do business with minorities because of race, hate speech, etc. etc.

7 Le Mur 09.09.10 at 8:25 am

“There’s no doubt delivering food is a risky job — it routinely ranks on the U.S. Bureau of Labor’s most-dangerous jobs list

Wrong. BLS doesn’t even list “delivering food” as job; the job they do list is “trucker/driver” and it’s relatively dangerous because of traffic accidents, not because of criminal customers.
http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfar0020.pdf

8 Anonymous Attorney 09.09.10 at 11:07 am

Jack, we do not live in a free country. But you probably already knew that. We live under what the late Washington Times columnist Sam Francis called “Anarcho-Tyranny.” That’s a state where you’ve got general anarchy, but the occasional and tightly focused enforcement of trivial infractions. Example: the New York City Parks Dept. cracking down on unleashed dogs with respectable owners just feet away, while gangbangers rape, rob and kill at will. The trivial enforcment happens because it’s all the system’s got the power to enforce: the docile yuppie dog owners aren’t going to shoot at you, they’re just going to stand there and politely accept their ticket. Meanwhile, the system can satisfy itself that it’s creating law and order. In truth, the triviality enforcement against a backdrop of general mayhem would only serve to put the mayhem into sharp relief.

9 MF 09.09.10 at 11:58 am

“Thus their policy would be explained by lawyers, CAIR, NAACP, etc. etc. as being discriminatory against blacks, stereotyping blacks as criminals, refusing to do business with minorities because of race, hate speech, etc. etc.”

Agreeing with J.T. Wenting, I call on everyone to repeat after me:

Equal opportunity is not the same as equal outcome

That simple sentence rips apart nearly every race baiter’s argument.

10 AMcA 09.14.10 at 4:54 pm

MF, and JT Wenting are right.

But when the lack of an equal outcome can land you in years of ruinously expensive litigation against opponents who have a larger agenda, Wenting’s sage distinction ain’t worth the paper its wrote on.

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