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Employee is accused of 'tricking' vegan coworker into eating animal products at office potluck. AITA?

Employee is accused of 'tricking' vegan coworker into eating animal products at office potluck. AITA?


"AITA for not stopping a vegan from eating nonvegan food?"

I eat a lot of plant based foods for health reasons. I’m not a vegetarian/vegan, but from the outside it does seem that way. I bring lunch from home to the office to eat, and it’s always a lot of vegetables, tofu, etc. and no visible meat.

At the same time it’s not vegetarian or vegan, because I might cook it in meat-based broths, use fish sauce, sometimes it’s got meat on the inside (just not visible on the outside) or something.

A lot of people in the office have made the assumption that I’m vegetarian/vegan but if they ask me I always correct them to say I’m not. Recently there’s an office pot luck. I brought in some of the food I usually make for myself (all plant based foods, and no meat) and made it clear it’s not for the vegetarian/vegan section.

Later on, I see a coworker who I assumed was vegetarian/vegan eat some of the food that I made. As a general personal rule for the office I don’t make comments about people’s food habits or diets, so I didn’t say anything. Especially because I wasn’t 100% sure if they didn’t eat meat.

Later on, they blamed me for “tricking” them into eating non-vegan foods. They said that I presented myself in a false manner (as a vegetarian/vegan) and so they assumed that the foods I make would all be vegetarian/vegan. They said that since I saw them eating my food I should have stopped them.

As it turns out they had put my dish at the edge of the two sections right next to the vegan section. So I could see why she mistook my food for being vegan. I moved it further into the right section but the damage was done. AITA for not being more loud about my diet, letting people make assumptions and not stopping her from eating the food I made?

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

just_hear_4_the_tip said:

NTA. Wtf kind of office do you work in where so many people inspect your food and observe/comment on what you eat? I used to eat lunch with coworkers on a daily basis and only know or notice what people tell me.

One "vegetarian" coworker would often order a seemingly vegetarian soup (broccoli cheddar), but it contained chicken wasn't labeled vegetarian like other soups, but it never once occurred to me to bring this to her attention. What a weird f'ing office, your coworkers are odd balls.

peacelovegelato said:

NTA. Whoever was in charge of the office potluck should have labeled each dish carefully so folks with allergies or dietary preferences were aware before eating anything.

loverlyone said:

Each of us is responsible for our own behavior. It’s not as if you took deliberate action against her. Ridiculous. NTA.

extinct_diplodocus said:

NTA. She assumed you were vegetarian. You assumed she was vegetarian. She was mistaken. You might have been mistaken. Unless you knew she was vegetarian and had good reason to think that she wasn't intentionally straying, your lack of comment was not inappropriate.

Unable-Investment-24 said:

ESH Kinda weird that they assumed you were deliberately trying to trick them, but it literally would have cost you nothing to give them a quick heads up that it wasn't vegan.

CaptainDrewBoy said:

ESH. Why was the coworker so clued-up on your lunch habits? Weird af. And if you thought that coworker was vegan, why didn't you say something? Takes less than a minute and nobody will get mad if you were wrong.

Simmerway said:

YTA. You made a dish that they couldn’t have known wasn’t veggie without talking to you and you didn’t tell them it wasn’t. The rest about you appearing veggie is a nonsense aside.

w0mbatina said:

ESH. Your coworker for throwing a fit because of a small incident like this. But it would have cost you nothing to say "hey, you do know this is not vegan right?" when you saw them.

I also think calling your food "plant based" is pretty missleading. Yes, technically you can call a lot of dishes plant based that are not even vegetarian, but the vast majority of the time the term plant based is pretty much synonymous with vegan.

The opinions were fairly divided here, but most people felt that it wouldn't have hurt anyone to alert the known vegan that the food they were eating wasn't vegan. What's your advice for these coworkers?

Sources: Reddit
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