Iowa alcohol retailers operating as a restaurant are able to employ a 16- or 17-year-old person to sell and serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption during the hours which the restaurant serves food, subject to the following requirements.

Restaurant vs. Bar

A 16- or 17-year-old may only sell or serve alcoholic beverages in a restaurant.

A restaurant is an eating establishment which offers food to the public, guests, or employees, including the kitchen and catering facilities in which food is prepared on the premises for serving elsewhere, and including a bar area within a restaurant.

A restaurant is not an establishment where food service is limited to prepackaged snack foods, popcorn, peanuts, and the reheating of commercially prepared foods that do not require assembly.

A 16- or 17-year-old is not allowed to sell or serve alcoholic beverages in a bar. A bar is an establishment where one may purchase alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises and in which the serving of food is only incidental to the consumption of those beverages.

Some businesses may have a restaurant or bar operating at their location (for example, golf courses or sports arenas). These businesses need to determine whether there is food being cooked, assembled, and served where alcohol is also being sold and served. If so, that area would qualify as a restaurant and a 16- or 17-year-old employee could sell and serve alcohol in that area during the hours that food is served, provided all other requirements for the employee are met.

Parent/Guardian Consent

The restaurant must have on file written permission from the 16- or 17-year-old’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian that the 16- or 17-year-old may sell or serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.

There is no specific form required to be used to meet this requirement. The written document must clearly indicate that the 16- or 17-year-old has permission from their parent, guardian, or legal custodian to sell or serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption in the restaurant.

The written permission must be kept on file until the 16- or 17-year-old turns 18 or is no longer engaged in the sale or serving of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption.

Dramshop Insurance Carrier Notification

Prior to employing a 16- or 17-year-old to sell or serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption, the restaurant must notify their dramshop insurance carrier that they are going to employ such a person.

Restaurants must notify their dramshop insurance carrier using the "Dramshop Insurance Carrier Notification - 16/17-Year-Old Restaurant Employee Selling/Serving Alcoholic Beverages" form. The form can also be found on the Insurance & Licensing Forms page.

Restaurants will fill out the electronic form and a PDF will be created and emailed to the email address provided by the restaurant. The restaurant will then be responsible for sending the completed form to their dramshop insurance carrier.

A separate form is required to be filled out and submitted for each 16- or 17-year-old employee being hired.

Sexual Harassment Training

The restaurant must require a 16- or 17-year-old employee to attend training on prevention and response to sexual harassment once the employee begins employment.

There is not a mandated training that has to be used to fulfill this requirement. The Iowa Civil Rights Commission has reviewed and recommends the ServSafe Sexual Harassment Prevention training. However, there are a number of other companies and organizations that offer sexual harassment training that can be used.

Supervision of Two Employees 18 or Older

The restaurant must have at least two employees 18 years of age or older physically present in the same area where alcoholic beverages are sold or served by a 16- or 17-year-old employee.

The two employees must be able to see the 16- or 17-year-old employee as they are selling or serving the alcoholic beverages.

Reporting Workplace Harassment

The restaurant must report any incident of workplace harassment involving a 16- or 17-year-old employee to the employee’s parent, guardian, or legal custodian and to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.

This includes an incident of workplace harassment reported by a 16- or 17-year-old employee, or an incident that the employer becomes aware of involving a 16- or 17-year-old employee.