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Business Ethics Discussion Topic – Public Accommodation and the Sex Offender Registry

My company operates campgrounds on public lands under contract with various public agencies.  Over the past several years, there has been a lot of discussion about public accommodation (e.g. can a private photographer choose not to serve a gay wedding).  This has never really been a big issue for me in my business, both due to my personal tolerance of just about anyone and the fact that we operate on public lands, which gives us an extra responsibility for broad accommodation.

Yesterday a sheriff’s deputy in Arizona comes by one of the campgrounds we operate and gave a flyer to our manager.  It says that so-and-so, we will call him Mr. Smith, is in the area and is registered as a level 3 high-risk sex offender (“level 3 is the highest level and considered the highest risk to reoffense”).  The deputy lets my folks know that it would be better not to do business with this guy. Full Article

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  1. New Person

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    The deputy lets my folks know that it would be better not to do business with this guy.
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    This is a good article and the comments below are also a good read. A lot of them worry about not treating registrants like any other person.

    That’s the crux. We’re supposed to be free peoples once out of custody, but we’re being bullied by the state. Here, you have a deputy telling business to not do business with this guy.

  2. T

    This exploitation was done maliciously to destroy the man for what he has done in the past, based on vigilantism and because of fear and emotion.

  3. Nicholas Maietta

    This is a country where:

    If you want to operate a business you must abide by various laws and regulations covering the type of business you operate at the minimum of levels: Local municipalities, State and Federal governments. If you conduct business internationally, International laws may apply.

    As a business owner you may be required to carry various insurances and bonding. So you go out and acquire the proper insurances and bonds. Now that you have them and are 100% compliant with the law. Here’s where it gets weird and frustrating:

    You are a 100% legit business owner faced with a recommendation by a Deputy NOT to do business with an individual because they are listed on the registry. You know that doesn’t seem right, but apparently now your Insurance provider seems to have caught wind of this and somehow feels you have a responsibility to potentially break laws and violate the basic rights of that individual. As a smart business owner you weight out your options but you are in a very tough position: Either keep providing a service to the paying customer (the registrant) and hope that nothing comes of it and risk many major headaches and issues such as lost income from bad PR from public outcry, loss of insurance coverage due to the insurance company feeling they have the right to bully you into doing something potentially illegal or morally wrong), you go the other route which is to comply.

    Complying means that you end up potentially breaking various laws in the name of keeping your business and income and good name going and growing. As a business owner, you must do as you can to thrive, serve your customers and contribute back to the economy and your own family or whatever your goals are. But in the process, you know you should do no evil or harm nobody in the process. You are, as a business owner, in the crosshairs and none of that was your fault.

    So you comply.

    Now what happens is that you may have just broken the law. You may not even realize this but all you think about is how bad you feel for doing what you had to do: Banish an individual because you were pressured to.

    Now this is where it should piss people off:

    You are now liable for the deprivation of a person’s basic civil rights and can be sued. If you got sued, you could easily lose. Let’s look at the hypothetical situation:

    In a hypothetical situation is that you chose to stand your ground and continue to offer the accommodations to the paying customer who hasn’t caused any trouble himself to you or your other patrons. You find your business and yourself personally suffering from Facebook ad campaigns and suddenly now angry parents protesting You begin to hemorrhage income and eventually go to the breaking point. You think back to everything and suddenly you realize you need to take 2 more steps to come out okay: File a claim with the insurance company. They will need to put it in writing why they won’t cover you. Bingo. Now you file criminal charges against them for demanding you break the law and in addition to this by you complying with the law, you can now go after the Deputy and Sheriff department, any members of the public who organized any kind of boycotting effort or written anything bad in relation to this because you were COMPLYING with law and chose not to break it. You PIN the legal responsibility onto the very people who were the real problem. The cops, the insurance company and the people who base their life around fear mongering and who in turn create the predator panic themselves. Not only are you companying with the law as a business owner, you will aso continue to be doing the morally right thing and harming absolutely nobody in in the process. You are a good business owner. Screw everyone else.

    You will prevail in court and the damages should be very high. You publish a statement that says the following:

    I was pressured to break the law by the Deputy and the Insurance company and I chose not to break the law. You, the public who pushed my business into financial runs wanted me to break the law also. Shame on you. If you don’t like the laws change them. As least I know I can sleep at night knowing I’m not harming anyone.

    To those who think that if registrant caused harm to anyone directly to fellow patrons or customers, realize that the liability is on that registrant. Yes, insurance can deny it. But at the end of the day the registrant is the one at fault for any bad he or she might do. The insurance company and the business owner are not responsible directly for any convicted drug dealers or homicides that happen in the park. Simply knowing a person’s legal past does not change any amount of liability, legally speaking, unless somehow our country has reallyed F*cked this up. If that’s the case, then there is absolutely no point in trying to operate legally or illegally. Do as you wish as a business owner just to make a quick few bucks and I hope you can sleep well at the end of each night.

    • Timmr

      You know, I realized, how can this guy get away with anything with everyone now knowing? Isn’t that the idea behind Megan’s law. What a farce. Megan’s law was supposed to make people feel safe, because they now know where the offender (former) is. Yet the knowlege only makes them more uncomfortable.

      • Nicholas Maietta

        That IS ironic isn’t it. That really was the point of Megan’s Law: To inform only. Megan’s Law was not ever meant as a tool to be used for ostracism. The proof of this is the fact that we have a clause in the law prohibiting ostracism because even the lawmakers knew people would be stupid with the information.

        • New Person

          eggzactly!

          They’re using your information to banish you from living within a certain area. They’re using your information to let other countries banish you as well from travelling. They’re using your information to banish you from facebook and disney world.

          sure seems like it’s a tool of punishment.

      • kind of living

        timmr… most of the people your talking about aren’t uncomfortable , or full of fear or any thing , they just for the most part are just hateful , and drama queens lol , not happy inless they are causing trouble with people , and what is better than to mess with people that cant stop them , and they have lots of magpies to brag to and feel tough , and think there secrets are safe behind there smoke screen , but this article was great !

  4. Tirednotbeaten

    He is either a free man or he’s not. LE is out of line….

  5. Out of bounds by the deputy

    I see a false light, slander or defamation suit as well as a Civil Rights suit against the Sheriff’s office and the particular deputy for passing a judgement about not doing business with the guy because of history when they are not allowed do so and should not pass judgement. Passing judgement like that is not a freedom of speech issue because folks see the deputy as the law and telling people what they need do. The Sheriff should have been consulted also for direction, e.g. remove or be allowed to stay.

    They can only advise this RC is in the area if they are notifying people. Anything, ANYTHING, beyond that is beyond the scope of the mission the deputy has to merely notify and puts liability back onto the Sheriff’s dept. History is one thing as it does not necessarily predict present or future activities. That is why your investments mention that caveat.

    If I was the RC, I would be finding an atty & pursuing those avenues against the Sheriff and his deputy. Nothing personal Sheriff, just business of course.

  6. Timmr

    Nicholas has done a great job on his comments at the end of the article. I put my .2 cents in. If you haven’t already, please add your comments there. Discus or Google doesn’t ban you. Get an account and influence the discussion.

  7. 1984

    This a great problem solver. My position is: the targeted camper should remain undisturbed. A higher risk for an incident probably would be from some one without a record.

    Also the sheriff’s deputy may be an officer of the law for the wrong reasons. Personally handing a flyer takes it to a different level. Was the flyer provided by the deputy’s office or did he make it himself? Just too many questions.

  8. kind of living

    this guy talks about many thing on that web site , and it makes me want to support his ideas , good stuff all of it , its the kind of places I would want to camp fore sure ,

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