Can volunteers at a retail thrift store be barred from purchasing goods at any time?

UPDATED: Mar 10, 2012

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Can volunteers at a retail thrift store be barred from purchasing goods at any time?

I was just wondering if the management of a retail store can restrict volunteers who work in the store from purchasing. Their new rule is a volunteer cannot purchase an item unless the item is over 30 days old. This seems discriminatory to me (against the class of volunteers). Is it legal for the store to do this?

Asked on March 10, 2012 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is completely legal. Most forms of "discrimination," or treating one person differently than another, are in fact legal; only those forms specifically prohited by the law, such as racial discrimination, or discrimination against the disabled, are illegal. However, there is no law stating that an employer may not treat employees different than non-employee customers, or that a charity may not treat volunteers differently than the people the organization serves.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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