On Thursday, the city of Dallas' Fair Housing Office released a presentation outlining its specific policies regarding dress codes and other means of potential discrimination at bars, restaurants and other public accommodations.
There's nothing new in the guidelines, which were seemingly reiterated in response to the multiple charges of racism lodged against Uptown's Kung Fu Saloon earlier this year. Dress codes must be in writing, clearly posted and equitably enforced. Changes to dress codes must be posted at least seven days in advance.
The enforcement mechanism for businesses that violate the requirements remains the same as well. Patrons who feel their rights have been violated have to file a complaint; those complaints are then investigated by the city attorney's office.
Beverly Davis, Dallas' assistant director of fair housing, says that as far as she knows there have been two complaints filed since the issue came to the public's attention this spring.
Any business wanting to brush up on what is or isn't allowed or simply increase awareness among employees can get free training from the city.
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"What we normally do is we go to the business and give them an overview of what the law is and what's covered in our ordinance," Davis says. "Then we have a Q and A after that to answer any specific questions."
Beyond dress code issues, the PowerPoint also makes clear that any ratios based on ethnic, gender or cultural groups is also against the ordinance, something that conceivably, could call promotions like ladies' nights into question.
Davis, laughing, says that the city had not received any complaints about gender-specific promotions.
"I'm not looking to start any trouble," she says, "but if anyone wants to file a complaint we would certainly look into it."