Report By Craig Wall, FOX 32 News Chicago | June 22, 2015
A Chicago bartender is being accused of discrimination after refusing to serve a man suffering from muscular dystrophy, and the confrontation was caught on video.
There are two issues that have come out of what happened at Chris' North Land Tavern: was the bartender insensitive or did she have legitimate concerns about serving a man she felt was not in any condition to be consuming alcohol?
“He's not sick, he's just disabled,” a man in the video said.
“I told you, I told you, I can't do it,” the bartender responded.
The man shooting the cell phone video said he recorded the bartender after she treated his friend like someone who was subhuman.
The incident happened last Wednesday after the men were in town for an expo to promote their company whose goal is to educate people about those with disabilities.
“I turned to Jimmy, asked him what he would want to drink, and she immediately said no, there's no way I'm serving him. And we were both just kinda in shock. We've never had something like that happen to us before,” said disABLE spokesman Ed Doyle.
The bartender told FOX 32 on the phone that Jimmy Curren, the man in the wheelchair, looked sick and could not talk, and she was not comfortable serving him alcohol.
“If he gonna pass out, who's gonna be responsible, you or me?” the bartender said.
“You can say that about anybody,” Doyle responded.
“No, I'm not gonna serve him alcohol,” the bartender said.
The bartender also said the men, who are both in their mid 20's, refused to show ID's, which is a claim they deny.
“And I think this is a clear cut example of how it really is a societal issue that there are people out there who are ignorant of what it means to have a disability,” said disABLE founder Jimmy Curran.
But under Illinois law, bars and bartenders can be held legally responsible for serving someone who is in no condition to drink. That was the bartender's concern and the owner defended her decision.
“I don't think so and as far as I'm concerned, I would have wanted her to do it exactly the way she did it,” said bar owner Chris Gramatis.
Curran said he is not interested in filing a lawsuit or a discrimination complaint. He and his business partner just want to promote understanding.
“What we would rather do than penalize this one specific business or try to get one specific person in trouble, we realize it's a societal problem, and we want to bring light to the issue,” Doyle said.http://www.myfoxchicago.com/story/29382155/chicago-bartender-accused-of-discrimination