The law is the law.
But what if the law is too blurry to always make a definitive call?
These issues arise a lot when serving liquor.
You can’t always be sure of an age or a person’s personal situation.
And that can make things super awkward.
Case in point…
Redditor throwawayalcbar wanted to discuss her story for some feedback. So naturally she came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.
“AITA for refusing to serve alcohol to a pregnant woman?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“For some clarity I believe I am the a**hole.”
“Everyone else thinks I’m not.”
“In my state, it is illegal for pregnant women to drink alcohol, or at least there can be legal consequences for it.”
“The law is unclear as to whether bar tenders can be sued, fined ,or prosecuted for serving alcohol to pregnant women.”
“To prevent any complications, my job has a rule in place that you cannot serve alcohol to any visibly pregnant women.”
“We treat it the same way we treat an ID that we aren’t sure if it’s fake.”
“If the possibly underaged person (or in this case, pregnant person) doesn’t leave, we kick out the whole party to prevent them from buying alcohol for the person who shouldn’t be served.”
“Last Friday, I had a visibly pregnant woman and a party of 4 other women come in.”
“I’m super lenient on what I consider visibly pregnant.”
“Like you have to be clearly wearing maternity clothes and be like 8 months.”
“This woman was clearly very very pregnant.”
“She went to order alcohol.”
“I told her unfortunately, I can’t serve her alcohol.”
“She asked why.”
“I told her that she is visibly pregnant and it’s against policy.”
“All of her friends and her just groaned and walked out.”
“I thought it was the end of it.”
“The next day, a man came in, and asked for me by name.”
“He then proceeded to yell at me, saying his wife had been in there and I refused to serve her.”
“She was pretty much the only person in recent memory I had refused to serve so I told him that it was policy to not serve alcohol to women we believe are pregnant.”
“He instantly broke down in what I can only describe as angry tears and told me his son was going to be stillborn, and his wife’s friends took her out to distract her.”
“I feel terrible but the wife came in yesterday to tell me that it’s okay, and that her husband is just really going through it.”
“She asked to speak to my manager where they talked about the policy.”
“My manager actually congratulated me on doing the right thing but I can’t stop thinking it was a d**k move on my part.”
Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors declared our OP was NOT the A**hole.
It’s a tricky situation.
“Let’s hear some thoughts… NAH.”
“Jesus… this is just an impossible situation.”
“You couldn’t possibly have known, the husband is clearly going through some s**t, the woman was kind, and your boss seems cool.”
“You didn’t do anything wrong here, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it.” ~ sysadrift
“Yeah, I think everyone behaved about as good as they could given the situation.”
“Such a heartbreaking scenario, it’s no wonder that OP is feeling something afterwards.”
“The guilt is misplaced though and I hope OP can let this go.” ~ Dewhickey76
“Honestly, one of the lady’s friends should have spoken to OP and maybe the manager before the group ordered, just to explain the situation.”
“But there are NAH.” ~ TomTheLad79
“In many places it’s actually against the rules/law to not serve the woman.”
“Unless the bartender is requiring a pregnancy test they have no way to know the woman is pregnant.”
“The liability for usage while pregnant usually falls on the woman alone.”
“I used to have an alcohol license in my state and I remember in the training being tricked with a question about serving a woman that looked pregnant.”
“When I said it should be against the rules to serve, I was told I have no proof of what medical condition the woman may or may not have.”
“I could only refuse to over serve, and refuse for underage.” ~ Objective_Oil_7934
“NTA. The AH is whoever thinks it’s okay to pass a law against women.”
“Like we don’t know how to protect our unborn children.”
“I’m so tired of all the calls for personal freedom, unless you’re a woman, then freedom be damned.” ~ VisiblePerspective
“I hope you don’t feel bad about it!”
“If it’s any consolation, my wife had two big glasses of Prosecco (talking total of about half a bottle between the two glasses) about 3 days before we found out she was pregnant.”
“We weren’t specifically trying (like no tracking ovulation or anything like that).”
“But she did stop birth control and we were planning on trying seriously in the near future.” ~ Frejian
“I also hate this law because it’s possible to look pregnant while not being pregnant.”
“I once had a coworker who looked pretty pregnant but had a different medical condition that caused it.”
“It would’ve been infuriating if she’d been denied service at a bar for looking pregnant when she genuinely wasn’t.” ~ cr0wj4n3
“You’re NTA for doing what you’re told to do.”
“But it’s hard for me to believe any restaurant would have this policy.”
“And even harder that this could possibly be a law.” ~ vestite2337
“NTA. and the woman is not TA either.”
“Her husband is an understandable AH–he shouldn’t take this out on you but he’s going through a level of hell that’s just indescribable.”
“Her friends are TA (this outcome seems pretty easily foreseeable; why would they plan this as a distraction when at minimum she’s going to get someone making comments).”
“And that policy is a little TA too.”
“Not just because of situations like this one, which are rare.”
“But also because it can take a while after giving birth to lose that ‘obviously pregnant’ belly look.” ~ Jazmadoodle
“NAH you were just doing your job and had no idea about the baby.”
“It’s one of those rare events that will stick with you forever but you did nothing wrong.” ~ Anewstageinlife
“Oh man. What a bizarre situation.”
“Honestly, I would probably feel horrible in your shoes, too—but there’s really no reason to!”
“I think it’s fair to feel sad for her and to recognize that this situation sucked for her.”
“But your role in it was not what caused it to suck.”
“She even came back and told you it was fine!”
“I totally understand how you must feel.”
“But try to put the bad where it belongs: outside the scope of your responsibility. NAH.” ~ chuchinchichu
“NTA, you didn’t come up with the rules and followed your boss’s rules.”
“But WTF, what a belittling rule.”
“So as a pregnant woman I am not allowed to go out with friends to drink something alcohol-free because my friends may be able to give me alcohol.”
“And therefore they are not allowed to drink wine or beer when they are with me.”
“Really bizarre, like you’re a small child who can’t make a choice for himself.” ~ Competitive_Lime_852
“Given the law, I’d say NTA.”
“There is a very real argument that what your bar is doing is sex discrimination, i.e., the woman has agency and has the right to drink alcohol in the same way that a man would (same age, same state of intoxication, etc).”
“What if the woman is not pregnant (but just looks it) or knows the risks and has chosen to assume them?”
“However, the law is very clear here: she has no right to assume those risks in this jurisdiction.”
“And you are therefore right to ensure that you’re not causing or permitting her to break that law.”
“Especially as it’s possible that you’d be committing an offence in your own right as well.”
“The law might be an AH, but you’re NTA.” ~ ElementalSentimental
OP came back around to shed a little light…
“I hope this leads to the policy being removed because this is one situation too many that makes it clear a bartender can’t be expected to make a decision like this.”
“it was stressful, and frankly it’s been hard to return to work since this happened.”
“You just don’t trust yourself to make decisions about who shouldn’t be served when something like this happens.”
“So I genuinely hope that since she came back and had a conversation with the manager, that this is taken up with the owner since he’s the one who (obviously) put the policies in place.”
“EDIT: I appreciate all the NTA comments and the YTA ones too.”
“I’m going to try to be less hard on myself, but I’m going to ask my manager today if he’s going to speak with the owner about this policy for all the concerns brought up so far.”
“Another edit: I don’t actually think this is a law in Washington.”
“I had thought this as when the policy was explained to me.”
“I was told it was a law we were following.”
“This was by the manager and not the owner.”
“And my manager told me that he also thought it was a law as the owner had told him that.”
“Final edit: I am a woman.”
Looks like OP shouldn’t be so hard on herself.
Reddit is pretty clear on that.
Sometimes we have to do what we believe is right.
Hopefully OP can find a little peace in that.
And condolences to that poor couple.
RIP little one.