Originally published in the Salt Lake Area Restaurant Association: January 2022 Newsletter
In the last couple of months, we have seen an unusual upswing in DABS violations come up not seen in the past regarding servers wearing name badges. We have asked our SLARA Advisory Board Member, Tanner Lenart, Utah attorney who specializes in alcohol law, to explain.
Servers – It’s not a name tag, it’s an ID badge – and you must wear one!
Utah Code Section 32B-5-301(8) states that “An employee of a retail licensee who sells, offers for sale, or furnishes an alcoholic product to a patron shall wear an identification badge.”
This is not just so your customers know their waiter’s name; instead, it’s a requirement by the state so that there is no question about who did it if anything bad happens. And it’s not just a violation if there’s a sale to a minor and servers are not wearing a badge – just not having it on is enough to trigger a minor violation.
The first violation is going to be merely a warning, but the second incurs a fine, and by the third time if servers in your establishment are caught not wearing a badge, you are looking at up to a five-day suspension of your license. We have not seen this happen yet, but first violations for this minor issue, unassociated with anything else, are becoming increasingly common.
Beyond the mere fact that the badge must be worn by servers, it has to be “above the waist, bearing the employee’s first name, initials, or a unique number in letters or numbers not less than 3/8 inch high. The identification badge must be worn on the front portion of the employee’s body.” Utah Administrative Rule 82-5-107(2). So, it does not have to be the server’s name, if she does not want it, but whatever is designated, you as the license holder have to “maintain a record of all employee badges assigned, which shall be available for inspection by any peace officer, or representative of the Department. The record shall include the employee’s full name and address and a driver’s license or similar identification number.”
There is no grace period for this, like there is for getting a new employee trained – as soon as the server is hired, they should be issued an ID badge and your list should be updated before they take to service.