The liquor laws have changed yet again, as B.C. is trying to do anything they can to stop underage drinking. Because of this, a new rule has been put in place this summer, stating that it will be the server who is fined for serving alcohol to minors rather than the restaurant.
According to the B.C liquor law, one may not at any point sell alcoholic drinks or permit a minor to drink in a home or business. In addition, restaurants are the ones who generally endure the hardest penalties. If caught serving alcohol to minors, they would receive a nice fat fine of a maximum of $500,000, and even sometimes after the third conviction they would have their liquor license revoked.
Because of this, all restaurants across B.C. require the server to obtain a mandatory self-study Serving It Right certificate. Without this, they will not be allowed to start work. Serving It Right is a test that educates servers, bartenders, and managers about their liquor responsibilities, providing great usable techniques to prevent over-service of alcohol, and how to ID a suspect. After completion of this 20 minute test, the server will be more educated with regards to the precautions they should take when serving alcohol.
In saying this, the government launched a law in 2010 which legally allowed a minor to enter a bar, restaurant, or liquor store and try and purchase alcohol. The purpose for this was to see if licensed people would request identification, (like they are supposed to) to minors. However, it seems the government is taking even stricter measures bringing us to where we are now.
The new 2012 law is now in place, sending undercover adults in attempts to purchase alcohol without showing identification. Two liquor inspectors accompany minors, the inspectors wait in the car as the minor enters the premises. Once they sit down they select an alcoholic beverage and attempt to order it. If successful, the minor turns over any purchased liquor to the inspectors and fills out his/hers observations. However if they’re asked for identification, the minor does not try to convince the server but simply says thank you and leaves. However the biggest change caused by this new law is that the restaurant faces no charges or scares of their liquor license getting revoked, but instead the server who has violated the law faces a fine of $5,000. It is now the server’s full responsibility to follow what he or she was taught in Serving It Right and carry it on into their job. If failing to do so, it is no ones fault but their own and for this reason the servers are the ones paying the fine.
So what do you think? Is it fair that the restaurant will no longer face any penalties? Is it too much for servers to be charged $5000 on one mistake?
Well I went out to the streets as well as restaurants and asked servers what they thought, and six out of eight believed that in fact it is way too much money to ask for a server to pay as it may take months for a server to come close to pay a fine like that. Similarly they also believe that the restaurant should be given some sort of penalty too.
Main image from http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk