Diners Feel Discriminated by Dallas Eatery's Dress CodeBy Jeff Paul

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A dress code enforced at a Texas-based restaurant and bar chain is causing some to feel discriminated against due its ban on tattoos.

Little Woodrow’s currently will not allow anyone with a visible neck or face tattoo to enter the business and be served.

“I would say from my point of view it’s definitely a little discriminatory,” said Oliver Peck, owner of Elm Street Tattoo.

An internationally known tattoo artist and host of Spike TV’s “Ink Master,” Peck can’t believe there’s a restaurant in his town that won’t let him in based on his appearance.

“It’s very curious that this is happening in 2016,” said Peck. “Not everyone with a neck tattoo is in a gang. Sorry to break the news to you.”

The company’s lawyer Philip Brinson said the policy is not a ban on ink, but the restaurant would just prefer not to serve clients with neck or face tattoos.

Attorney Britta Stanton said the eatery is likely well within its rights.

“The line can be very gray as to when it gets discriminatory,” said Stanton.

Legally, Stanton said people with tattoos aren’t considered a “protected class” such as race, religion, sex and age are under the U.S. anti-discrimination law. But the restaurant must enforce the dress code on everyone.

“It’s easy to hide behind a dress code to unfairly target someone. And so the Department of Justice takes that seriously,” said Stanton.

Peck said he understands an establishment can make the choice to ban people like him, just like he can choose not to give them his business.

“A young kid today gets a neck tattoo and all of a sudden they can’t go into a restaurant. Yeah, that’s what you get. Like, you chose to be a part of the underworld,” said Peck.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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