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What does the law say about liability for injuries caused by bar and restaurant employees drinking on the job?

Bartenders, waiters, and waitresses are around alcohol each time they're on the clock. It might not be surprising that some of them occasionally have a drink while at work.

But what does Texas law have to say about who is responsible when this happens and that employee causes an accident?

In this article we'll look at what Texas law has to say about someone who is injured or hurts someone else while consuming alcohol.

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Under Texas law, restaurant and bar employees are not allowed to become intoxicated on the job.

If you've ever spent much time in Texas bars, you've probably seen bartenders take a shot or sip on a beer while they're working.

As commonplace as it may be, bartenders cannot drink on the job and this is against Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code policy.

The TABC even has a suggested form for all bar employees to sign, stating explicitly that they won't drink on the job at all.

Outside of compromising their abilities to simply be good employees, the reasons for this are simple:

  • Alcohol service establishment employees must carefully monitor all patrons for signs of intoxication. They are prohibited by law from ever serving someone alcohol to the point of, much less past the point of, intoxication, such that that person becomes a danger to themselves or the general public. Considering how alcohol blurs not only vision but judgment, intoxication on the bartenders' part increases the likelihood of drunk driving.
  • Most bars don't have "jiggers" on liquor bottles that measure out alcohol in hard-and-fast 1.5 oz. measurements. That means that, for bartenders to adequately measure out the proper amount of alcohol, they need their wits about them. When they get a little intoxicated, we've found, bartenders' hands get "a little heavy" and more booze gets poured out.
  • Bartenders are surrounded by alcohol. The temptation to keep pouring drinks for themselves only increases as their own level of intoxication does, and there's no one there to stop them.
  • Alcohol doesn't mix with high-paced work environments like bars and restaurants. When someone makes a mistake because of alcohol use, serious workplace accidents can happen.

Further, TABC rules explicitly make it illegal for anyone to be intoxicated on a premises that sells alcohol. It doesn't matter whether it's an employee or not.

When bar and restaurant employees cause accidents, their employers must be held responsible.

Ultimately, bar and restaurant owners must actively monitor employee activity to ensure that servers and bartenders aren't drinking.

They must also have serious policies in place to prevent employee alcohol consumption and mete out punishment when those rules are broken.

In every intoxicated employee case we've ever been a part of, there were serious problems with management's attitude towards employees drinking---including managers actively encouraging employees to drink to excess.

The dram shop laws were designed in no small part to prevent these kinds of employees hurting themselves and other people. When they do, the bar could be financially liable for any resulting damages, including:

  • Money for wages that were lost
  • Compensation for medical bills
  • Loss of counsel, comfort, and emotional support
  • Funeral expenses
  • Money for pain and suffering

However, in order to succeed in these cases, you're attorney will to know how dram shop cases work and have experience litigating them successfully.

Call Grossman Law Offices Today

If you've been hurt or lost a loved one because of workplace intoxication, give us a toll-free call anytime, day or night, at (855) 326-0000. We'll walk you through your options.

The call is free and won't obligate you to anything. If you hire Grossman Law Offices, the only way we ever get paid is if we recover money for you.


Other articles about Texas dram shop cases that may be helpful: