Looks like something is brewing in my hometown of Pittsburgh: Mike Vuick, owner of McDain’s Restaurant in Monroeville, PA recently announced that children under the age of six won’t be allowed in the casual eatery any longer. After receiving complaints from customers about crying children at nearby tables, Vuick decided to institute the policy, which will take effect on July 16.
In an email to his customers, Vuick explained:
We feel that McDain’s is not a place for young children. Their volume can’t be controlled and many, many times, they have disturbed other customers.
In addition, Vuick recently spoke with a local TV station and stated that he had nothing against children, but that their endless screaming at dinner tables is "the height of being impolite and selfish". In a somewhat less emboldened move, Brenda Armes, the owner of North Carolina’s Olde Salty Restaurant posted a sign in her window stating that "screaming children will not be tolerated" but did not go so far as to ban children altogether from the eatery. Armes claims that the new rule has boosted business, and Vuick believes that his altogether ban on children will accomplish much of the same.
However, some residents of Monroeville think the ban is outrageous and feel they are being singled out for having young kids. They ask, what about all the noisy adults at the bar? Is Vuick going to kick them out, too?
There have been bans against smoking or even excessive perfume, and obviously there are dress requirements for certain places. But where do we draw the line on bans and what criteria can we use or not use when instituting such bans?
The government cannot discriminate based on race, alienage, or nationality when it comes to allowing people access to government property and services. Those are called "protected classes" of the highest order. There are also strong prohibitions against discrimination based on Sex and Religion, among other groups. Many statutes enacted by Congress and other state legislatures extend this not only to government action, but also to the action of private citizens and entities (like restaurants). Are we going to need to define babies as a protected class so families can make sure they are able to eat at restaurants?
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.