Business invitee refers to an individual welcomed inside or onto property by a business for commercial purposes. The term is used in tort law to describe individuals to which businesses owe some form of duty to protect. Customers going into stores are business invitees, and the business owes some level of care to protect those customers while they shop. Examples of these duties include keeping floors dry, warning customers of potentially dangerous conditions, and preventing falling items from shelves. Tort law in every state requires businesses to use reasonable care to protect invitees under the theory that customers and other invitees should expect safety when at a business, and businesses arguably are in the best position to negate dangerous conditions on the property.
[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]