May a nonprofit 501(c)(4) community organization refuse to admit a member because “you don’t fit in”? The bylaws say that membership “is open to all singers, musicians, entertainers….”
Ordinarily, a nonprofit membership corporation may select its own members and may refuse to admit someone whom the selection committee feels would not fit in. Our model bylaws for membership nonprofits includes a specific statement that membership may be denied for any reason deemed sufficient to the Directors. (See Ready Reference Page: “Bylaws Function as ‘Constitution’ of Nonprofit Corporations.”)
If the organization is so large and open that it is categorized as a “public accommodation” under anti-discrimination laws, it may not be able to discriminate against members of a protected class, and “you don’t fit in” may be considered code for such discrimination. But if it is a decision legitimately based on personality alone, it may not be discriminatory and not illegal.
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