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 of 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.