Some hotel and restaurant owners have decided to prohibit the entrance of children under a certain age. In doing so, however, they are risking receiving heavy fines for “discrimination”. One Prague restaurant that decided to restrict entrance to everyone under the age of 18 is currently facing this very problem.
The Stodola House restaurant in the south of Prague has a large sign on the board next to the door stating that children under the age of 18 are prohibited from entering. Because of this decision, the owner might be taken to court. According to the Czech Trade Inspection Authority (CTI), prohibiting the entrance of children violates the law as it is considered “age discrimination”.
“This is unacceptable discriminatory behaviour, not only against persons under the age of 18, but also against persons over eighteen years of age, such as parents…” it said in the statement that the owner of Stodola House, David Salomon, received after the Czech Trade Inspection. They had received a complaint about children being forbidden from coming in.
“We have run this restaurant for 27 years, so we know exactly what our customers want and don’t want, and they certainly do not want kids running around.” Salomon explains. According to him, children should be in school, or playing outside, not in a pub where “alcohol is drunk, people are smoking, and greasy food is being consumed”.
According to Salomon, it is not the responsibility of the restaurant staff to make sure that those over the age of 18 are not buying and sharing their alcoholic beverages, for example, with customers under the age of 18. It is better that they don’t even put themselves into that situation.
“Children are noisy, but we should not forbid entry”
The Association of Hotels and Restaurants do not like to ever prohibit entrance to any customers. According to its president Václav Stárk, entrepreneurs certainly have a “full right to fill a certain demand in the market that exists” but introducing a “quiet zone” is considered a much better solution than an outright ban on the entry of children. “Children can be expected to be noisy, but they are by no means the only source of noise” he explains. Therefore, the Association recommends to instead define access of children to certain places at certain times.
According to Salomon, however, such an approach has not been proven to succeed in practice. He explains that this has led to regular disagreements with parents who don’t understand why they need to leave the restaurant with their baby and stroller after 17:00. “It’s tricky because it’s hard to set a line.” He explains.
In the above-mentioned Prague restaurant, the ban on children is valid for more than a year. The owner confirmed that he is comfortable with the fact that he will probably have to defend himself in court. Czech Trade Inspector Jiří Fröhlich added that the investigation is not over yet. “The complaints were judged to be reasonable and CTI is now conducting administrative proceedings to find a violation of paragraph 6, i.e. discrimination,” he says.
If the inspection proves the discriminatory conduct, the restaurant owner could be sanctioned for up to three million crowns.
Author: Holly Webb