Memphis Moves Forward with Employee Registrations for Groceries and C Stores

Memphis Moves Forward with Employee Registrations for Groceries and C Stores

Memphis has a storied reputation for being conspicuously uncommon. The Home of the Blues has attracted considerable attention for its efforts to ensure that all employees of off-premise beer permit holders can legally sell beer.
We previously blogged about the story here.

On February23, 2012, Memphis issued revised instructions about requirements for employee registrations for off-premises sellers.

We read the letter as requiring a background check on every employee that touches beer, and a $21 employee card. Instead of requiring employees or employers to pay Memphis for the $29 TBI background check, the new rule essentially offsets the expense to the employee or employer.
The new rule laid down by Memphis reminds us of Louis Armstrong: "You like tomato, and I like tomahto. Potato, potatho, tomato, tomahto! Let's call the whole thing off."
Its the same darn thing - either pay Memphis to do the search or pay to do it yourself.
Tennessee and Memphis law require that beer permit holders cannot employ anyone that has been convicted of a felony, crime involving alcohol, or crime of "moral turpitude" in the past 10 years.
Most restaurants have liquor licenses and all servers are required to hold Tennessee ABC server permit cards, which require employees to disclose all crimes on the application.
There is no similar requirement for grocery and convenience store employees. Although state law prohibits a business from employing folks with disqualifying convictions, there is no way for local beer boards to realistically enforce the law.
The Memphis Alcohol Commission, which grants and oversees beer permits in Memphis, was justifiably concerned about sales to minors. The Commission decided that requiring criminal background checks for off-premises employees would help curb sales to minors.
Problem is, state law prohibits a city from imposing additional fees or taxes for beer licensing, if the city charges the lucrative "inspection fee" on beer wholesalers. Industry insiders report that Memphis reaps millions of dollars annually from the inspection fee.

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