Responsible Vendor Program
The Responsible Vendor program in Louisiana was started in 1997 and has been a very successful effort in terms of increasing the safety of serving alcohol and tobacco products in Louisiana.
The program requires that any person serving alcohol or tobacco products in Louisiana receive and complete a training course to obtain an RV Server Permit within 45 days of their hire. This rule covers anyone who deals with customers who are purchasing alcohol or tobacco products in Louisiana. The certification is valid for four years and must be renewed to maintain compliance.
The program is governed and monitored by the Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC). The retail locations at which licensed servers are employed are required to keep employment records on site for inspection by ATC Enforcement Agents. ATC Enforcement Agents also routinely check the compliance of licensed vendors and their servers. Servers found to sell or serve alcohol/tobacco products in violation of Louisiana can be held liable in criminal or civil court depending on the violation. ATC Agents have begun issuing administrative citations directly to RV Servers for violations of Louisiana Title 26 violations.
The ATC also governs the providers who are authorized to provide training and certification in this program. A valid certificate can only be issued by a Louisiana ATC Authorized Vendor. The ATC publishes a list of providers that are authorized, which can be found here.
There are several companies advertising online that offer deeply discounted certification courses for the Louisiana ATC but are not authorized. It is your responsibility to make sure that the course you are taking is valid and accepted by the ATC.
Additionally, local town, city and parish ordinances may also govern the issuance and management of permits to serve alcohol and tobacco products. A list of these ordinances can be found here.
The content of the course is similar for all providers and a listing of the topics required to be taught is provided by the Louisiana ATC. The topics that will be covered are:
- Responsible Vendor Law
- Vendor Responsibilities
- Server and Security Personnel Responsibilities
- Louisiana Laws on Serving Alcohol and Tobacco Products
- Louisiana Laws on Serving Alcohol: Identification
- How to Detect False Identification
- ATC Regulation of Alcohol and Tobacco Sales to Minors
- Effects of Alcohol on Your Body
- Blood Alcohol Concentration
- Alcohol and Medication
- Alcohol and Driving Motor Vehicles
- Sale of Alcohol to Intoxicated Persons
- Pathways of Tobacco
- Effects of Tobacco on Your Body
- Tobacco Sales: Signage and Vending Machine Requirements
You will also learn:
- The responsibilities of a Responsible Vendor business owner
- The responsibilities of a server
- The responsibilities of security
- The appropriate age to purchase alcohol in Louisiana
- The appropriate age to purchase tobacco, alternative nicotine and vapor products in Louisiana
- What types of identification customers can show to purchase alcohol/tobacco products
- The effects of alcohol on the body and with medications
- Information on drinking while driving
Responsible Vendor Law
The server training courses shall include but not be limited to the following subject areas:
- Classification of alcohol as a depressant and its effect on the human body, particularly on the ability to drive a motor vehicle
- Effects of alcohol when taken with commonly used prescription and nonprescription drugs
- Absorption rate, as well as the rate at which the human body can dispose of alcohol and how food affects the absorption rate
- Methods of identifying and dealing with underage and intoxicated persons, including strategies for delaying and denying sales and service to intoxicated and underage persons
- State laws and regulations regarding the sale and service of alcoholic beverages for consumption on and off premises
- Parish and municipal ordinances and regulations, including but not limited to the hours of operation, noise, litter and other odrinances that affect the sale and service of alcoholic beverages for consumption on and off premises
- State and federal laws and regulations related to the lawful age to purchase tobacco products and age verification procedures and requirements
- The health risks and consequences associated with the consumption of tobacco products including but not limited to their addictive nature
- For security personnel, the handling of disruptive customers and customer altercations
A server or security personnel who violates alcohol or tobacco server law is subject to all of the following penalties:
- Suspension or revocation of their permit
- Monetary fine
- Criminal citations
A vendor who sells or serves to minors will not have its alcohol or tobacco permit revoked in the following instances:
- On a first sale of an alcoholic beverage by any server or security personnel to an underage or intoxicated person or the first illegal sale or service of a tobacco product by any server or security personnel to an underage person in any twelve month period
- On the first citation for consumption by a customer of alcoholic beverages on the premises of a Class “B” vendor in any twelve month period, unless the vendor had knowledge of the violation, should have known about such violation, or participated in or committed such violation
A vendor may not use as a defense the fact that he was absent from the licensed premises at the time a violation occurred if the violations are flagrant, persistent, repeated, or recurring.
ATC takes into consideration compliance with the responsible vendor program and other methods taken by the business owners to prevent the sale of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products to persons under their respective legal ages.
Q: I am one of the vendors defined in the program. What are my responsibilities?
A: As a Responsible Vendor, you must do all of the following to maintain your Responsible Vendor certification:
- Provide ATC with a completed affidavit
- Require all servers and security personnel to attend an approved server or security personnel training course within 45 days of the first day of employment. Server permits are valid for four years. You must ensure that all servers and security personnel attend refresher courses every four years
- Pay an annual fee of $50 per licensed establishment holding a Class A-General, Class A-Restaurant, Class B or Class C-Retail permit
- This fee is assessed on all new and all renewal applications for retail dealers of alcoholic beverages and/or tobacco products
- The fee funds the development and administration of the Responsible Vendor program
- Keep the handbook current (You may request updates from ATC)
- Provide new employees already Responsible Vendor certified with the rules and regulations applicable in the parish or municipality of your establishment’s location
- Maintain server and security personnel training records, which must include the following information for all servers and security personnel:
- Name of server
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Date of hire
- Keep a copy of the above server/security personnel records at your licensed premise at all times for inspection by ATC agents or other peace officers.
- Post signs on the licensed premise informing customers of your policy against selling alcohol and/or tobacco products to underage persons
Server and Security Personnel Responsibilities
Q: I am employed as a server or as security for a vendor. What are my responsibilities under this program?
A: Servers and security personnel have the following responsibilities under the Responsible Vendor program:
- Complete an approved responsible vendor training course within 45 days of employment
- Your RV card will be available on the ATC website 7-10 days after completion of the course. You may print/download your RV certificate on the ATC website
- Make your permit available for inspection immediately if asked by an ATC agent or other peace officer
- Keep your Responsible Vendor server certification current
- Your Responsible Vendor permit will expire on the last day of the month FOUR years after the month that you completed the Responsible Vendor course.
- To renew, attend and pass an approved Responsible Vendor course.