Nightclubs, Make Sure You Know What Your Bouncer Can Legally Do

Posted on: May 9, 2018 by RMS Hospitality

There are a number of different misconceptions when it comes to the power that nightclub bouncers have. Most people see them as members of authority at a nightclub or bar, but don’t actually know what they can and can’t do.

Sometimes a bouncer crosses the line and gets involved in physical altercations, and even then the public doesn’t know what is allowed. Contrary to popular belief, bouncers cannot legally engage in excessive force as they see fit.

If a nightclub wants to avoid legal issues it’s first best to invest in looking through nightclub insurance programs, which can guard against issues brought up by moments like this. More importantly, having a solid running knowledge of just what is allowed can make the difference between being protected from or involved in legal issues.

What Bouncers Can Legally Do

Bouncers can only use force if it is first used against them. Essentially, this is the same outline of rights that the public has, such as in self-defense. Bouncers cannot, by law, take matters into their own hands and commit violence first.

Bouncers can legally perform these tasks:

  • Check ID
  • Call the authorities
  • Protect innocent bystanders
  • Respond with force if it is necessary
  • Refuse to let patrons in if they are intoxicated
  • Issue verbal warnings
  • Force patrons to leave

What Bouncers Cannot Do

Bouncers are not legally allowed to get involved in physical altercations unless they are first threatened. A bouncer can’t go off and fight someone just because they feel threatened or are being yelled at.

And even though it’s been portrayed in the media in this way, bouncers are not entitled to throw someone out of a bar or nightclub. If this happens then that patron, who may have been disruptive beyond a threshold, can then turn around and sue. Bouncers can’t even restrain someone with excessive force; the best they can do is do what they can within a limited frame to keep an altercation from escalating or happening in the first place.

Can Bouncers Be Sued?

Absolutely. Bouncers share the same standing as regular citizens in the public and are liable to be sued in the same instances. If someone feels like they have been threatened or has been assaulted in any possible way by a bouncer then that opens up possibilities of legal action.

Bouncers will have to make written incident reports, especially when they have used force in a situation. Those suing a bouncer and/or a nightclub establishment can inquire if the report has been written and then request a copy. Altogether, it’s vital for nightclubs and the bouncers within to know their limits and what patrons can legally do if they feel threatened.

About RMS Hospitality Group

At RMS Hospitality Group, our expertly crafted policies are written specifically for the hospitality industry. We offer custom tailored solutions to meet any venue’s specific needs. For more information, contact our knowledgeable experts today at (516) 742-8585.

Posted in: blog Nightclub Insurance