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Although state law does not require those who sell or serve alcoholic beverages to be certified or licensed, a TABC-approved seller training certification course is available. The training covers the laws concerning the sale and service to minors and intoxicated customers, as well as techniques for intervention to ensure that sales are not made to minors or intoxicated customers. The TABC does not actually conduct the courses, but TABC certifies the training schools and monitors the classes.

TABC encourages retailers to require their employees who sell or serve alcoholic beverages to attend a seller training course through the "Safe Harbor Act." The TABC will not take administrative action against a license/permit when an employee sells or serves an alcoholic beverage to a minor or intoxicated customer, as long as:

  • The person selling/serving is not the owner or an officer of the company;
  • The person selling/serving holds a current seller-server training certificate from a TABC-approved school;
  • All employees engaged in the sale, service, or delivery of alcoholic beverages, as well as their immediate managers, are certified within 30 days of their hire date;
  • The employer has written policies for responsible alcohol service and consumption and ensures that each employee has read and understands these policies; and
  • The employer does not directly or indirectly encourage the employee to violate the law.

This relief is commonly referred to as "safe harbor." If an illegal sale is made, the seller/server might be arrested, but the retailer's permit/license will have protection from administrative action by the TABC. This is referred to as a "restrained administrative case."

Read more about Safe Harbor

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