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Bar Owners Face California Rules for Server Training

F. Michael Ayaz

The fast-changing employment laws of California have employers forever on the move, keeping their businesses compliant. Of course, as of January 1, Assembly Bill 5 now requires businesses to use the so-called ABC test to classify workers as employees or contractors

A different ABC, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, has new rules for all California businesses serving alcoholic beverages. All servers will soon need to have training in recognizing patrons who are OK for another round and those in need of a ride home. Here is a quick overview of the regulations bar owners will need to know while overseeing alcohol servers.

The law applies to a lot of Californians

The ABC estimates that a million people will need to get the recently developed training program by the deadline of July 1, 2021. The state calls the law the Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) Training Program Act.

It applies to “Alcohol Servers,” defined broadly as anyone who checks identification to buy alcohol or get into a bar, takes drink orders, pours drinks, or serves drinks, as well as anyone “who manages or supervises that person.”

It also applies to any event that needs an alcohol license, including temporary licenses.

Training requirements spelled out in state law

The law spells out minimum requirements for the courses, but the text might allow a range of difficulties. A course must include the social and bodily impacts of alcohol, state laws and regulations about alcohol and driving under the influence, and serving strategies and business policies to prevent serving underage or intoxicated customers.

Keeping current and licensed will be another hurdle

Passing the test will certify a server who and clear them for work for three years.

Businesses must use only servers who are current on their training and certification or the business will face possible suspension of their license for 10 days.

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