Restaurant Faces ‘Human Rights Hearing’ Because It Doesn’t Have High Chairs

by Ashley Austrew

Dad claims Earls restaurant is discriminating by not supplying high chairs

Taking kids out to eat can be a huge pain in the butt, especially when a restaurant isn’t particularly child-friendly. When that happens, most of us either suck it up or skip the place entirely, but not this guy. This Canadian dad is suing a restaurant for discrimination because they failed to provide his one-year-old with a high chair.

Earls Kitchen And Bar in Vancouver is facing a human rights hearing — seriously, human freaking rights — after dad Phillip Ryan alleges he was told at two different locations that it’s not the restaurant’s policy to provide high chairs for babies. Ryan attempted to dine at an Earls location in early February and, according to court documents obtained by CBC News, says restaurant staff “declined” to provide a high chair. He visited a different location later that month, and says he was again told they didn’t have high chairs and weren’t required to supply them.

For their part, Earls representatives deny there’s a policy against high chairs and say families are “always welcome.” Cate Simpson, a spokeswoman for the chain, explained in an email to CBC that about half of Earls locations have high chairs and boosters, but others simply don’t offer them because they’re supplied based on the primary clientele in the area. “We do not have a policy that prohibits high chairs,” she said. “Requests for high chairs at some locations are rare.”

Earls representatives also claim Ryan was offered a large booth so he could have more space to hold his baby in his lap or place the baby on the bench beside him. They say Ryan declined because doing so would be “stressful” and “less enjoyable.” Look, Dude — taking a one-year-old to a restaurant is stressful and unenjoyable, regardless of how many high chairs a place has. You’re just going to have to get used to that.

It’s not crazy to assume a restaurant will have a high chair if it does at other locations, and yes, Earls inconsistency on the issue is kind of weird, but discrimination? Human rights hearing? None of those things should be associated with the issue of high chairs in restaurants. Whether or not a place supplies high chairs is their prerogative, and if you don’t like it, let your money do the talking by not eating there. Don’t take them to court.

Parenting is a rough gig, and it sucks that some places simply can’t accommodate our needs the way we wish they could, but that’s not discrimination. It’s just reality. High chairs are convenient and popular, but that doesn’t make them a human right.