To employ or not to employ, that is the question

If you have a restaurant, bar or club with a New York liquor license, there are legal restrictions on who you can employ. The Alcohol Beverage Control Law (Section 102(2)) prevents on-premise retail licensees (bars, clubs and restaurants) from employing individuals who have previously been convicted of certain criminal offenses. In order to employ such person, the employee candidate must have a certificate of relief of disabilities or certificate of good conduct and a copy must be maintained in the personnel file. Alternatively, a petition to approve employment must be filed with the New York State Liquor Authority using the official forms. Upon approval of the Authority, you can employ the candidate subject to strict reporting requirements in the event of subsequent arrests.

To be in compliance, an on-premise licensee’s employment process must inquire about the following criminal convictions:

  1. Any felony;
  2. Use or possession of a pistol or other dangerous weapon;
  3. Making or possessing burglar’s instruments;
  4. Buying or receiving or criminally possessing stolen property;
  5. Unlawful entry of a building;
  6. Aiding escape from prison;
  7. Unlawfully possessing or distributing habit forming narcotic drugs;
  8. Vagrancy or prostitution; and
  9. Ownership, operation, possession, custody or control of a still after 7/1/1954.

A licensee who employs someone in violation of Section 102(2) can be subject to fines, cancellation or revocation of the license.

If you have employed someone in violation, it is a good idea to consult an experienced liquor license attorney about the best strategy to get in compliance.