Restaurant Industry Legal Alert: Answers To Frequently Asked Questions Concerning California's Human Trafficking Notice Requirements

by FordHarrison

In response to our June 6, 2013 Restaurant Industry Newsletter, we received several questions about whether California's human trafficking statute applies to all restaurants and drinking establishments.  As a result, we are providing the following answers as a guide to help you determine whether you must comply with the statute. 

1.   What kinds of restaurants are required to comply with the statute?  Civil Code section 52.6 requires "on-sale general public premises licensees under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act" to comply with the public notice requirements. 

2.  What kinds of establishments are considered an "on-sale general public premises licensee"?  The Alcohol Beverage Control Act defines "on sale general" as the sale of all types of alcoholic beverages (beer, wine and distilled spirits) for consumption on the premises and the sale of beer and wine for consumption off the premises. 

The Alcohol Beverage Control Act further defines "public premises"[1] as premises that are maintained and operated for the sale and service of alcoholic beverages to the public for consumption on the premises and in which food is not sold or served to the public although food products may be sold or served incidentally to the sale or service of alcoholic beverages.[2]

3.  My restaurant serves beer and wine, am I required to post the notice?  No.  An on-sale general public premises licensee has a license to sell distilled spirits on the premises, in addition to just beer and wine, so the notice requirement does not apply to you.

The notice requirement does not apply to a "bona fide public eating place" defined as establishments that are used for the regular service of meals to patrons and have suitable kitchen facilities.[3]

4.  I own a bar that serves limited snacks, am I required to post the notice?  Probably, because food products are sold incidentally to the sale or service of alcoholic beverages.

5.  I am still confused regarding whether I am covered by this new statute, how do I make sure it applies to me?  Check the license that was issued to you by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control or contact the Department directly at or

[1] Business & Professions Code § 23039.

[2] "Public premises" does not include railroad dining or club cars, passenger ships, airplanes, or bona fide clubs after the clubs have been lawfully operated for not less than one year; nor does it include historic units of the state park system, premises being operated under a temporary on-sale beer license other than permitted pursuant to Section 24045.5, or on-sale beer licensed stadia, auditoria, fairgrounds, or racetracks; nor does it include nonprofit theater companies licensed pursuant to Section 24045.7; nor does it include winegrowers' premises.  See Business & Professions Code § 23039(b).

[3] Business & Professional Code § 23038 and 23787.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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