Liquor liability is not just a question of having adequate insurance coverage; it is also essential that managers and staff receive proper training in effective methods of preventing liquor liability. Not only bar and tavern owners, but also restaurant operators, have a responsibility to ensure that their employees are selling alcohol in a responsible manner, and their failure to do so can result in fines, jail, loss of liquor licenses, increased insurance premiums, and even the loss of one’s business.
All establishments selling liquor should have a written policy delineating their rules, regulations, expectations, and processes with respect to selling liquor to customers, and this policy should be given to each employee and signed to acknowledge that they understand the policy.
Training must then be provided to all employees before they can serve alcoholic beverages; this training may vary from state to state and according to the jurisdictional requirements of the local city, town or county. Generally, training may be completed in-person or on-line, and a passing score must be achieved or the test must be retaken. Such tests will cover:
- The proper way to check identification
- Alcohol laws and responsibilities, including civil liability
- Alcohol measuring methods
- Ways of evaluating, and preventing, impairment or intoxication in customers
- How to refuse serving more alcohol and dealing with difficult situations
- Documentation of any incidents
Liquor liability can be complicated and, as mentioned above, laws can vary greatly from state to state. So discuss your business’s particular requirements with your Alliance Insurance risk advisor, who can help you avoid the serious problems arising from liquor liability.
For more information on this issue, see Liberty Mutual Insurance’s quarterly newsletter of October 2014 “Training to Control Liquor Liability”.