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A lawful concerted attempt by a group of people to express displeasure with, or obtain concessions from, a particular person or company by refusing to do business with them. An unlawful attempt that is prohibited by the Sherman Anti-Trust Act (15 U.S.C.A. § 1 et seq.), to adversely affect a company through threat, coercion, or intimidation of its employees, or to prevent others from doing business with said company. A practice utilized in labor disputes whereby an organized group of employees bands together and refrains from dealing with an employer, the legality of which is determined by applicable provisions of statutes governing labor-management relations.
A classic example of this is a consumer boycott whereby a group of customers refuses to purchase a particular product in order to indicate their dissatisfaction with excessive prices or the offensive actions of a particular manufacturer or producer.
n. organized refusal to purchase products or patronize a store to damage the producer or merchant monetarily, to influence its policy, and/or to attract attention to a social cause. Labor unions and their sympathizers have boycotted lettuce and grapes not picked by union farm workers, and civil rights activists have boycotted stores and restaurants that had "white only" hiring policies. The term is named for Captain Charles C. Boycott, a notorious land agent, whose neighbors ostracized him during Ireland's Land League rent wars in the 1880's. Boycotts are not illegal in themselves, unless there are threats or violence involved. A "secondary" boycott, which boycotts those who do business with the primary target of the boycotters, is an unfair labor practice under Federal and state laws. (See: secondary boycott)