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Restaurants

no children policy

Businesses such as restaurants sometimes exclude children under the age of 18, for example, from their premises. Businesses generally have the right to do so unless there is a local ordinance, for example, that prohibits restaurants from excluding children.

Restaurant policies that exclude children—sometimes referred to as prohibitions or bans on children by opponents of the policies—may be motivated by the restaurant’s concerns about noise, safety, or wanting to create a quiet, intimate setting for their customers.

Opponents of restaurant policies excluding children may claim the policies are discriminatory, but federal laws such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) only prohibit discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, or disability (protected classifications). Age is not a protected class in this context. Age is a protected class in the employment context and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits age discrimination against employees and job applicants over age 40—but that law has no bearing on a business’s right to exclude customers based on their age.

In Texas, businesses such as restaurants have the general right to exclude children under the age of 18 from their premises unless there is a specific local ordinance that prohibits such exclusion. The exclusion is typically based on the business's desire to maintain a certain atmosphere, such as a quiet and intimate setting, and is not considered discriminatory under federal laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which protect against discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, or disability, but not age in the context of service. Age discrimination is addressed in the employment context by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which protects individuals over the age of 40 from employment discrimination, but this does not extend to the rights of customers in a business setting. Therefore, unless a Texas state statute or local ordinance specifically prohibits the exclusion of minors from a business, such policies are generally permissible.


Texas Statutes & Rules

Federal Statutes & Rules

Civil Rights Act of 1964 - Title II, Public Accommodations
This statute is relevant because it outlines the types of discrimination prohibited in places of public accommodation, such as restaurants.

Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, color, religion, or national origin in places of public accommodation engaged in interstate commerce. Public accommodations include a wide range of entities, such as hotels, restaurants, theaters, and more. The Act does not include age as a protected class for customers of public accommodations. Therefore, while a restaurant cannot refuse service based on race, color, religion, or national origin, the Act does not prevent a restaurant from implementing a policy that excludes children or individuals under a certain age.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 - Title III, Public Accommodations and Services Operated by Private Entities
This statute is relevant because it addresses the rights of individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, which could intersect with policies excluding children if those children have disabilities.

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the activities of places of public accommodation, which are private entities that are open to the public, such as restaurants. Under the ADA, restaurants must provide equal access to individuals with disabilities and make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, or procedures when necessary to accommodate people with disabilities, unless doing so would fundamentally alter the nature of the services provided. If a child is excluded from a restaurant based on a policy against children, but that child has a disability, the restaurant must consider whether the ADA requires an exception to the policy to accommodate the child's disability, unless making such an accommodation would fundamentally change the nature of the restaurant's services.

Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)
This statute is relevant to clarify the scope of age discrimination protections, which apply to employment rather than to the provision of services by businesses like restaurants.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employment discrimination against persons 40 years of age or older. The ADEA applies to employers with 20 or more employees and covers the terms, conditions, and privileges of employment, including hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, and terms of retirement. However, the ADEA does not apply to the customers of a business and does not prohibit a business from excluding certain age groups from its premises. Therefore, while age discrimination is prohibited in the context of employment, the ADEA does not prevent a restaurant from having a policy that excludes children or underage individuals.