Restaurants are among the most highly regulated businesses. These resources will help you stay compliant.
There has been a rise in the number of ADA lawsuits filed against restaurants in the past few months. These lawsuits seek damages and may be filed by individuals who have never actually set foot in the business they are suing. Additionally, some lawsuits are targeting restaurants' digital properties such as websites and apps.
National Restaurant Association ADA Tool Kit
OSHA Revised Hazard Communications Standards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revised Hazard Communication Standards (HCS) pertaining to properly labeling hazardous chemicals. Essentially, the goal is to give employees worldwide a better understanding of the hazards associated with chemicals in the workplace through the use of more consistent definitions and standard pictograms.
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Major Hazard Communication Standard changes
- Hazard classification: Provides specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures.
- Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.
- Safety Data Sheets (SDS): (formerly known as Material Safety Data Sheets or MSDS) SDSs will now have a specified 16-section format.
- Information and training: Employers are required to train workers by December 1, 2013 on the new labels elements and safety data sheets format to facilitate recognition and understanding.
All employers using hazardous chemicals in the workplace must comply with the changes made to the SDS--including the new specified 16-section format--and should be aware of OSHA’s training expectations and strategies for meeting the Hazard Communication Standards.
OSHA required employees to be trained on the new label elements (i.e., pictograms, hazard statements, precautionary statements, and signal words) and SDS format by December 1, 2013.
Employers must update alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication programs as necessary by June 1, 2016. They must also provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards.
Employee Training Safety Data Sheets
Federal Tax Extensions
At the end of 2015 Congress passed a budget bill that included many tax provisions benefiting restaurant owners.
Tax changes provide more certainty for restaurateurs
Taxes and the restaurant industry
Statewide Food Handler Mandate
Currently 85 local jurisdictions around the state of Texas require food handler certification. In October 2015, the Texas Department of State Health Services approved a regulation requiring statewide food handler certification as part of the new Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER).
The statewide food handler mandate is effective September 1, 2016 which means all current restaurant employees required to be certified must have their food handler permit by that date. Learn more
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Wage & Hour
The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping and youth employment standards. FLSA rules are enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The DOL Wage and Hour Division classified the restaurant industry as a high-risk industry for FLSA violations. And some believe that restaurants are being targeted for audits.
8 Common FLSA Violations
Legal FAQs Wage & Hour Issues
Common Wage & Hour Mistakes
Fact Sheet: Tipped Employees & FLSA
Tips & Service Charges
Wage & Hour Self-Audit Checklist
House Bill 910, which became effective January 1, 2016, expands the scope of a concealed handgun license to authorize an individual possessing a license to carry a handgun to carry the handgun in plain view in a public place if the handgun is carried in a shoulder or belt holster. A private property owner can choose to prohibit open and/or concealed carry on their premises by given notice either through oral or written communication.
Written communication must include the exact statutory language and if given in a sign posted on the premises, must meet the specifications for that signage (font size, and color).
Concealed Carry Poster
Open Carry Poster
You can have the option to have cards with the required language prohibiting open and/or concealed carry for employees to hand out to customers.
Concealed Carry 3" x 5" Card Concealed Carry Business Card
Open Carry 3" x 5" Card Open Carry Business Card
If you choose, you can prohibit employees from carrying weapons on your premises, regardless of your customer policy.
Sample Employee Policy Prohibiting Firearms
The open carry and concealed carry posters are provided to you as a courtesy from the Texas Restaurant Association. TRA does not endorse these open carry or concealed carry posters nor does the TRA take any legal responsibility for the use of these posters. All responsibility for the use of these posters lies with the user of the posters. Any posting requirements, placing of the posters in the required entrances, and any other signage requirements are the full responsibility of the users of the signage. If you have questions about the use of these signs or other legal issues concerning open carry or concealed carry signage requirements, please contact your local law enforcement agency, or your city or county legal department. Neither TRA nor the Texas Department of Public Safety has jurisdiction to enforce or provide legal opinions on concealed or open carry signage requirements.