Services and Public Accommodations FAQ

Can businesses charge men and women different prices for the same services?

No. The Unruh Civil Rights Act prohibits gender discrimination by businesses in their pricing practices. For example, a dry cleaner business cannot charge more to clean a woman's blouse than a man's shirt when the two items are similar in detail; or a hair stylist cannot charge more to trim a woman's hair than a man's when the hair is similar in length.

What can people do if they are denied service by a business establishment because of their race, sex, religion, or any other category protected under the Unruh Civil Rights Act?

People who believe they have been discriminated against in violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act may file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing or they may file a private lawsuit.

Is there a time limit for filing an Unruh discrimination complaint with the Department?

Yes. All Unruh Civil Rights Act complaints must be filed with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing within one year of the discriminatory act.

Can a person go directly to court without first filing with the Department?

Yes. An individual may file a private lawsuit without first filing a complaint with the Department. People wishing to file a private lawsuit should consult an attorney regarding the filing requirements.

Can a restaurant or hotel deny service to individuals because of their sexual orientation?

No. The Unruh Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation by all business establishments in California.