The Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) has confirmed that a hotel operator can ban children under 15 if it has legitimate reasons for doing so. The court rejected a cassation complaint by the Czech Trade Inspectorate (ČOI), which claimed that such conduct was discriminatory.
“A hotel operator may prohibit the entry of children under the age of 15 if it has legitimate reasons for doing so, acts transparently, and is consistent with its business model,” the court said in its report.
The case concerned a decision by the ČOI, which fined the operator of a wellness hotel with a nudist area for not allowing children under 15 to stay. It pointed this out as a benefit in its catalog. In the dispute with the ČOI, the operator argued that the purpose of the measure was, in line with its business model, to provide hotel guests with a peaceful and quiet environment that would allow them to relax undisturbed.
The ČOI admitted that the hotel operator had pursued a legitimate aim but considered excluding all children under 15 from the accommodation services to be a disproportionate means of achieving this aim and imposed a fine of CZK 10,000 on the operator.
The hotel operator defended the decision by filing a lawsuit with the Regional Court in Ústí nad Labem, which annulled the decision and returned the case for further consideration. The ČOI defended itself by filing a cassation complaint with the Supreme Administrative Court, which rejected the criticism and upheld the lower court’s decision.
“The court, unlike the Czech Trade Inspection Authority, concluded that the exclusion of persons under the age of 15 from accommodation services constitutes a reasonable and necessary means leading to the objective of ensuring a peaceful and quiet environment suitable for relaxation in the case of this hotel,” said Lenka Krupičková, a judge of the Supreme Administrative Court.
As an alternative to a blanket ban on children under 15, the CTIA had proposed, for example, the expulsion of children who disturb hotel guests or the expulsion of those children who have legitimate concerns about alarming guests. However, according to the SAC, these measures are inappropriate or unworkable to achieve the objective.
After confirming the original judgment of the Regional Court, the Czech Trade Inspection Authority must re-examine the case and take into account the legal opinion of the courts in its decision.