California law for bartenders goes into effect

Business owners, HR leaders must be aware of new regulation

California law for bartenders goes into effect

Starting July 1, workers in California must be certified before they can serve alcohol in any establishment.

The Responsible Beverage Service (RBS) Training Program Act of 2017 has officially taken effect and anyone who serves or manages people who serve alcoholic drinks in the state must be certified by an accredited RBS training provider and pass an ABC exam.

Read more: 5 California HR law changes to know in 2022

Bartenders, waitstaff, their managers and anyone who serves alcohol at an establishment in California must accomplish this within 60 calendar days from the first date of their employment.

“Responsible Beverage Service training teaches servers to responsibly serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption and mitigate alcohol-related harm in California communities,” according to California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).

To be certified, workers must register with ABC as a server on the RBS portal, take RBS training from an approved RBS training provider and return to the RBS portal to take ABC’s alcohol server certification exam.

“The Department has certified that the curricula presented by the approved training providers meets the requirements set forth in the California Code of Regulations Title 4 §§162-166,” said ABC.

Also, an employer who unlawfully makes an employee work during all or part of a meal or rest period should provide the employee with premium pay, or an additional hour of pay, under California’s Labor Code, according to a recent ruling.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) partly overrides California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), which allows employees to sue over workplace violations on behalf of the state, even if they had agreed to resolve their disputes through individual arbitration.

Earlier this year, five other new rules took effect in California. These were:

  • Senate Bill 606, which expands the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health’s (Cal/OSHA) enforcement power by creating two new violation categories: “enterprise-wide” and “egregious.”
  • The Silenced No More Act (SB 331), which amends existing California law that restricts the use of confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions in employment agreements, including settlement and severance agreements.
  • Assembly Bill 701, which makes California the only state to regulate quotas used by warehouse employers.
  • SB 62, which is intended to revise existing law to make clear that a person contracting to have garments made is liable for unpaid wages, damages, penalties and other compensation owed to workers who manufacture those garments.
  • Assembly Bill 1033, which requires that employers grant eligible employees up to 12 weeks of job-protected time off from work annually for the purposes of providing care to a parent-in-law with a serious medical condition.

HRD previously spoke with three employment lawyers practicing in the state to break down the language in these legislations and educate employers on what they need to know to comply.


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