The Brick Passes Certification Requirement for Restaurant and Liquor Store Workers

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Wine is poured in a bar. (Credit: Maria Eklind/Flickr)

This week, Brick officials unanimously approved an ordinance that requires any liquor-licensed business to certify its employees in completing one of two programs aimed at educating workers in the service industry to safe service practices.

The council passed the ordinance with one minor change from when it was introduced. The order originally stated that the requirement applied to “front of house” employees, but that wording was clarified after questions were asked. The training requirement now applies to “every employee involved in the sale or service of alcoholic beverages in the establishment”, said Councilor Andrea Zapcic, who led the measure.

Most restaurant employees, such as managers, servers, hosts, bartenders, and coaches, will need to obtain and hold an alcohol management certification. The requirement will also apply to those who work in businesses with a distribution license – typically liquor stores – as well as so-called “club licenses” which are issued to social organizations such as the Elks or a yacht club. Two certifications will be accepted: TIPS (Training in Intervention Procedures) and TAMS (Alcohol Management Techniques), both offered locally by the municipality and associations. The training is free and can be followed on site in a company.

A business owner attended the meeting to talk about the requirement.

“I understand there are costs and enforcement, but I would appreciate if the council pushed the liquor industry in this town to comply,” said Jerry Monroe, owner of Brick Town Liquors.

Monroe asked if every employee, such as someone who isn’t normally involved in sales but may need to run the cash register for a short time, needs the certification. In this case, officials said, the employee would need to be certified since they deal with the public.

“It’s been a tough few years for the entire service industry – at The Brick and across the country,” Monroe said. “I can send my employees, train them and tell them it’s a requirement to be hired, or I can do the right thing and pay them their salaries.”

Zapcic said that while no financial incentives, such as reduced licensing fees, are available, companies generally see a reduction in the cost of their liability insurance after employee certification.

The order requires training to occur within 90 days of hiring an employee at an approved facility. Initially, compliance will be required 90 days after Tuesday’s notice of passage is published in a printed official journal – a state regulation. Each business owner should keep a copy of each employee’s certification number and expiry date on file. An employee who has certification from a previous job will not have to be retrained.

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