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• Establish programs and procedures for monitoring employee compliance with the company’s alcohol policies. Such programs expose potential risks and provide an opportunity to correct problems before they become a liability.

• Some effective means of monitoring and compliance include:

-Regular reminders and refresher training;

-Mystery shopping (best practice is to use shoppers who are 21 years old and older);

-Manager review programs;

-Incentives to reward regular implementation of responsible alcohol sales and service procedures;

-Disciplinary measures for employees who do not follow company policy.

Through a comprehensive approach to all aspects of alcohol compliance (policy, training and monitoring), restaurants can significantly reduce the risks of liability and minimize damages or consequences in the event a violation occurs.

Michele L. Stumpe, Esq., is a partner at the law firm of Taylor English Duma LLP. She has been representing and assisting businesses and alcohol retailers for more than 20 years. Her experience includes successfully handling multimillion-dollar civil dram shop and premises liability lawsuits. In addition, Ms. Stumpe has served as a consultant to various governmental entities, trade organizations, and major corporations.