21-And-Over Policy Prompts Age Discrimination Complaint August 14, 2006Posted by C.A.R.D in 19, 21-and-over, Age Discrimination, alcohol, Brian Alber, Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Discriminate, drink, Human Rights Commission, Law, Michael Evora, POP, public accommodation, Rhode Island, Robynne, underage.
A nightspot’s 21-and-over policy has prompted an age discrimination complaint winding through Rhode Island’s Human Rights Commission.
The case began in February when Brian Alber Jr., 19, and his parents were kicked out of POP, a nightspot, because the establishment has a 21-and-over policy, according to documents filed with the commission.
Alber’s family later filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, which is expected to hold a meeting on the case this week.
Alber’s mother, Robynne, said her son only ordered a hamburger and was humiliated in front of his parents and their friends, she wrote in a letter filed with the commission. After Alber’s mother protested, she too was asked to leave.
She declined to comment on the case when contacted by The Providence Sunday Journal.
Dan Puerini, POP’s owner, said he won’t stop his 21-and-over policy. He said the rule is part of the restaurant’s attempt to enforce liquor laws.
“If you are underage, you are going to drink,” he said. “It’s impossible to keep track of minors in a bar where it’s like POP and its jampacked.”
At conflict is a state law prohibiting a place of public accommodation, including inns, taverns, barrooms, salons and restaurants, from discriminating against a person because of his age, so long as that person is at least 18.
Human Rights Commission Executive Director Michael Evora wouldn’t comment on the case, but he said the commission hasn’t previously analyzed 21-and-over policies.
“If you have a restaurant that is open generally to the public but also happens to serve alcohol, you cannot discriminate,” he said.
But Evora said he wondered if a tavern could keep out those under the legal drinking age because its primary purpose is to serve alcohol.