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ČOI: Czechs and children also face discrimination in restaurants

One restaurant refused to seat Czech speakers, while another banned children
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Not all restaurant discrimination is aimed at foreigners. The Czech Trade Inspection Authority (ČOI) found two unusual cases in the second quarter of 2019. One case was a restaurant that refused to seat Czech speakers, and another was a place that wouldn’t allow children.

This is in addition to recently reported fines in cases discrimination by overcharging tourists and others who don’t speak Czech.

Usually problems are found with the bill at the end. The instance with Czechs being refused service didn’t get that far. “One case of discrimination was in terms of nationality, when Czech-speaking inspectors were in the role of consumers. It was not possible [for them] to sit in the restaurant at a table and place an order, but for English-speaking consumers it was,” the ČOI said in a press release.

Another case of discrimination involved age, where the restaurant website indicated that the place was not suitable for children under 8 years old. “When asked electronically by the consumer whether it is possible to reserve a table at the restaurant for four adults and one child aged 4, the restaurant employee electronically replied that they do not accept the presence of children under 8 in the restaurant,” the ČOI said.

Both cases are now facing administrative proceedings. The names of the restaurants won’t be disclosed until the proceedings are finished, due to EU privacy rules.

Some 139 inspections were carried out nationwide between April 1 and June 30. Issues were found at 64 places, or 46%. Only the two mentioned cases met the legal definition of discrimination under the Consumer Protection Act, and both were in Prague or Central Bohemia.

In 26 cases, shortcomings were found in the “principles of honesty in sales.” Another 24 cases involved sellers that did not inform consumers about prices of products or services in accordance with price regulations.

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The highest rate of violations was found in the Hradec Králové and Pardubice regions, where there were only two inspections but both found errors, for 100%. The Olomouc and Moravia-Silesia regions were next with 22 out of 39 inspections finding errors, or 56.4%.

Prague and Central Bohemia had the lowest rate, with two out of nine inspected places in violation, for 22.2%. These, however, were the cited age and nationality discrimination cases.

In the second quarter of 2019, six fines totaling 210,000 CZK came into force in connection with the proven discriminatory conduct. Due to the length of time for administrative proceedings, these fines involved conduct from before the second quarter of 2019.

Added tip
Example of a bill with a tip already added in. via Czech Trade Inspection Authority

The ČOI gave details on two discrimination cases in Prague that resulted in fines of 60,000 CZK for each of the violators.

At Clock Caffé in the Old Town Square, inspectors found out that foreigners were faced with a service charge that was not disclosed in advance. Inspectors, one speaking English and another Czech, both ordered from the beverage menu and selected an item from a showcase. The English speaker was charged a 50 CZK service fee. The Czech speaker was not charged a service fee.

Café Restaurant on Střelecký Island automatically added a recommended tip of 75 CZK to the bill of an English-speaking inspector, while the Czech speaker was not hit with an added tip.

More inspections were carried out on September 20. In one case, a Russian speaking inspector was charged the right amount on the bill but given change that was off by over 300 CZK. Another violation involved mandatory electronic evidence of transaction (EET) receipts. One receipt given to an English speaker did not have proper EET information, while a receipt from the same register given to a Czech speaker had the required data. This case will be forwarded to the Financial Administration, which is responsible for enforcing EET.

Tip: Visit Food & Drink for great tips on Prague restaurants, Czech cuisine, and more

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