Ethics Quiz: The Pregnant Bar Patron

"Boy, its a good thing nothing human is living in there!"

“Boy, its a good thing nothing human is living in there!”

This one is so rich with chewy ethical dilemma goodness that I had to interrupt writing another post to get it to you.

New York City’s Commission on Human Rights has ruled that bars and restaurants that refuse to serve alcohol or raw fish to pregnant women are committing discrimination. Such a policy by bars and restaurants  violate protections for pregnant women in the city’s Human Rights Law, and constitute illegal bias.

“While covered entities may attempt to justify certain categorical exclusions based on maternal or fetal safety,” the commission said, “using safety as a pretext for discrimination or as a way to reinforce traditional gender norms or stereotypes is unlawful.”

Interestingly, eighteen other states have laws that declare that the use  of alcohol during pregnancy is child abuse.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz:

Is it ethical to refuse to sell liquor to a pregnant woman, when the establishment is doing so to protect the fetus from the toxic effects of alcohol, or is it unethical discrimination?

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Buck Foston’s Ethics

News Item:

“A New Brunswick businessman has filed suit in federal court, charging New Brunswick Mayor James Cahill is holding up approval of his liquor license for a new high end sports bar because he doesn’t like the bar’s proposed name — Buck Foston’s. Larry Blatterfein, who has owned the Knight Club, a bar on Easton Avenue, for 30 years, charges Cahill is violating his first amendment constitutional right to free speech by holding up the transfer of a second liquor license to Blatterfein from another restaurant in town.”

The story goes on to say that the mayor denies the accusation, that the name has nothing to do with the planned establishment’s problems. Maybe not. Continue reading

The Ashley Payne Affair Revisited

What's wrong with this picture?

One of the earliest Ethics Alarms posts concerned Barrow County, Georgia, teacher Ashley Payne, who was forced out of her job at Apalachee High School for posting photos on Facebook that showed Payne drinking beer and wine while on a vacation to Europe. Barrow had a policy stating that employees can be investigated, disciplined and terminated for postings on Web sites that contain provocative photographs, sexually explicit messages, use of alcohol, drugs or anything students are not supposed to do. In the initial post, I took the position that the school over-reacted, but that Payne was still accountable because she knew what the policy was and violated it:  Continue reading

Florida, Facebook, and Teacher Conduct

Two teachers are out of a job. Both share some responsibility for their fates. The question is how much, and whether their school districts over-reacted to their conduct.

The easier of the two tales, and by far the funnier, took place in Prairie Village, a suburb of Kansas City, Kansas.  A Mission Valley middle school teacher (make that ex-teacher) named Ryan Haraughty was drawing a map of the United States on the blackboard and drew Florida out of proportion. The extra-long, engorged Florida drew snickers from his teen age students, which Haraughty acknowledged by quipping, “Florida got excited.” Hilarity ensued. Continue reading