Public Accommodations Discrimination

The following also is provided in Spanish. Lo siguiente también es provisto en español.

What is discrimination in public accommodations?

All people have the right to receive service, free from discrimination, from any business that obtains or solicits customers from the general public. It is against the law for any such business in Phoenix to discriminate against a person on the basis of:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Marital status
  • National origin
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender identity or expression

Note: In addition to city ordinance, persons with disabilities are afforded protection against discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Arizonans with Disabilities Act. The laws address access to facilities and services for persons with disabilities in places of public accommodation. For more information on federal and state laws, contact the U.S. Department of Justice at 1-800-514-0301/voice or 1-800-504-0383/TTY or the Arizona Attorney General's Office at 602-542-5263/voice or 602-542-5002/TTY.

To whom does the law apply?

  • The city of Phoenix investigates complaints against businesses within Phoenix city limits that obtain or solicit customers from the general public.
  • Businesses covered include restaurants, theaters, department stores, shopping malls and all stores located inside a mall, hotels and motels, public golf courses, public health clubs, etc.

What are some examples of discrimination in public accommodation?
 

  • Failure or refusal to provide service at a restaurant or night club because of a person's age, sex, race. color, religion, disability, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression
  • Refusing admission to persons at a restaurant, night club or theater because of a person's age, sex, race. color, religion, disability, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression
  • Quoting a higher down payment required to purchase a car to a person because of the person's age, sex, race. color, religion, disability, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression
  • Providing poor customer service to minorities, yet non-minorities are assisted immediately and receive good customer service.
  • Having security personnel follow a person of a certain race or ethnicity that is shopping, yet other persons are not followed around.

What should I do if I suspect discrimination in public accommodation?

  • Keep a record of the incident. Document the date, time, location and comments made to you.
  • Collect information and documentation, such as witness names and phone numbers, to support your allegations.
  • Speak with management about the incident and ask for a business card.
  • Contact the Equal Opportunity Department. Trained staff will review your complaint and determine if a violation has occurred.

When must I file a discrimination complaint?

  • If you believe you have been discriminated at any place of public accommodations on the basis of age, sex, race. color, religion, disability, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, you can file an online complaint by clicking here or by contacting the Equal Opportunity Department Compliance and Enforcement Division voice line at 602-262-7846 or the TTY relay at 602-534-1557 or fax at 602-495-0571. A complaint must be filed within 180 days of the alleged incident. The department will report its results to you within 150 days from the date you first filed the complaint.

What will the Equal Opportunity Department do with my complaint?

  • The incident will be reviewed to determine that this office has proper jurisdiction over the matter.
  • If this office has proper jurisdiction, an attempt will be made to resolve the complaint with all parties to the incident.
  • If a resolution is not possible, the assigned investigator will assess the case for the best course of action, which may involve an investigation.

Where can I get more information?

City of Phoenix
Equal Opportunity Department
Compliance & Enforcement Division
251 W. Washington St., 7th Floor
Phoenix, AZ 85003-2295
602-262-7486
602-534-1557/TTY
602-495-0517/Fax