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Protecting Your Online Business From Lawsuits

Legal liabilities and lawsuits are some common worst fears that can easily crumble a business if not prevented or managed. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your online business is well protected against potential cases that can easily damage the business’s reputation. 

 

Uphold information security

Your online business, most likely, holds customers’ data, such as names and social security numbers. Safe data handling practices, including safeguarding client’s data and protecting financial information from illegal disclosure, ensures that your clients do not file lawsuits against you for potential mishandling of their data.

 

Proper communication with customers

Business-customer communication is a constant process that should be properly regulated to ensure that the kind of information disclosed is accurate and relevant. The kind of information that you display on your business’s website, including potential advice to web users and information relating to products and services should be well regulated to ensure accuracy. This can prevent a possible situation where customers feel defrauded or misled by the business.

 

Compliance with industry practices

Every business investing within a particular industry or area of investment is governed by specific as well as universal standards and practices. Among the crucial standards thereof is the need for businesses to ensure that all products and services are within the quality specifications and standards. Releasing products and services out there that do not meet the industry standards will most likely land your online business in legal trouble.

 

Insurance 

Online businesses are increasingly focusing on adding insurance to their operations and products against potential risks and damages. Such protection is crucial, especially since the products are normally handled by multiple persons before they finally get to the customer. Obtaining insurance for your products gives customers the peace of mind that the product will be in good working condition as described within the e-commerce site.

 

Child protection

Different jurisdictions have different requirements for child protection when it comes to online businesses. In the US, your online business will be required to obtain parental permission when collecting data and information from children under the age of 13 years. It is, therefore, upon you to exercise due caution and put in place mechanisms ensuring that you have an accurate overview of each client who visits your business.

 

**This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. In relation to your individual situation, always seek advice specific to your circumstances from a lawyer.

Tips on Protecting Your Business from Online Attacks

To be competitive, every business today has invested in establishing an online presence. The rising trend of cyber threats is, however, an important issue that every business must consider to address. To remain secure across the web and prevent itself against online threats, your business must put in place strong cybersecurity measures. 

 

Work with a secure hosting platform

Your business’s website should be hosted on a secure and certified web hosting service provider. Among the factors to consider when selecting a hosting service provider include the provider’s compliance with the international PCI standards as regards to security and data protection. This guarantees that every online activity that your business will be engaging in from your website will be secure.

 

Ensure that you use https

All your online and web communications should be based on a Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (https) channel. The https protocol is more secure for your website and web service as it provides added layers of security that are necessary to prevent potential siphoning and eavesdropping into your business’s communication.

 

Training your employees

Untrained employees are highly likely to compromise on any layer of digital security that you put in your business. To ensure that everyone within your business is cybersecurity-competent, it is important to train the workers on the broad concept of digital security, cyber threats, and how they can contribute actively towards making the workplace digitally secure. Progressively training your employees on the evolving thresholds of cyber threats to your business ensures that they do not compromise unknowingly.

 

Use appropriate software

As an added layer of digital security in your business, it is important to use protective software, such as anti-malware and antivirus programs. These programs should be regularly updated to ensure that they can competently detect and ward-off any potential cyber threats.

 

Back up your data

Exposure to some of the modern-day cyber threats can lead to an abrupt loss of organizational data or a compromise on the data’s integrity. Such an eventuality can cripple the business and bring its operations to a standstill. To be on the safe side, it is important to consider backing up your data daily.

Reasons to Seek Legal Advice for Your Business

Growing a business is a difficult time with many bumps in the road. You want to make sure that you have the option of finding legal advice during your time as a business owner. Whether it is during the initial startup of the business, protecting your intellectual property, drafting contracts, and settling any lawsuits that may arise, having a prepared and experienced legal professional is essential.

 

While Forming Your Business

When you are determining how to form your business, seek an advisor to benefit your business’s future. You can determine if you will run your business as a sole proprietorship, LLC, partnership, corporation, or any other business structure, a lawyer will weigh the pros and cons to what could be the best option and help properly register your company as such.

 

Protecting Your IP

Either a start-up or a seasoned business, new ideas, products, trademarks, and more intellectual property will be created. No matter how long the business has been around, you are going to want to protect your property. Finding a lawyer that focuses their practice on IP will help with technical language and legal proceedings of registering the IP for the business. When it comes to safeguarding your IP, you want to make sure you take all the right steps to ensure it’s safety.

 

While Drafts Contracts

Hiring employees, creating relationships with other businesses, and other business transaction can require contracts. You are going to want to thoroughly understand the rights and obligations of contracts you are creating and also what you are signing. Taking your contract to a legal professional can relieve you from the stress of combing through the contract with a microscope.

 

Settling Any Lawsuits

The litigation process can be timely and expensive. Though you want to take the proper preventative measures listed above to avoid any lawsuits, there may come a time when you are going to want a lawyer to help when settling these disputes.

 

It is important to be prepared for any situation to arise. When owning a business, you need to be aware of the problems that can affect your operations. Protect yourself, your business, customers, and employees by seeking legal advice from a professional.

 

**This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. In relation to your individual situation, always seek advice specific to your circumstances from a lawyer.

Must-Read Articles for Entrepreneurs

As an entrepreneur and a lawyer, I know it is important to learn from others. Different perspectives can help develop new ideas and solutions that may not have been discovered without collaboration. There are so many resources on the internet whether its TED talks, interviews, or articles. As an entrepreneur, you should consider reading these business articles.

 

“Don’t Take It Personal” Is Terrible Work Advice

Duncan Coombe discusses why employees and business owners should take things personally. From feedback, conflicts, ups and downs, losing business deals, and all types of workplace issues are you are told to “not take things personally” or “it’s just business, don’t take it personally.” But you constantly put so much effort into your business that why wouldn’t you take it personally? This Harvard Business Review article gives advice to entrepreneurs on how to engage with their employees, create success in business, and take pride in what you are doing.

 

Think You’re Too Old to Be an Entrepreneur? Think Again

Not every entrepreneur is a millennial whose brilliant idea came from them sitting in a coffee shop. This article shows that it doesn’t matter what age you may be, it is possible for you to make your ideas come to life. It gives examples of entrepreneurs who started their endeavors later in life.

 

Meeting the Challenge of Disruptive Change

Businesses are constantly changing. If it isn’t, your business could be left in the dust by not adapting. Businesses are going to grow. This article helps business owners identifying when your company may need to change and how to handle it. Economics scholar, Clayton Christensen, and business consultant, Michael Overdorf, wrote their article to benefit entrepreneurs when it is time to handle a change in their business.

 

What Makes a Leader

Starting a business is something very different from having the ability to manage and lead a team of employees. You need to develop a different set of skills to be able to be a leader. As an entrepreneur, you may need advice on how to be an effective leader of your business. This article is a great read if you are looking to develop your skills.

 

Common Legal Mistakes Business Owners Make: Part 2

Continuing from Common Legal Mistakes Business Owners Make: Part 1, there are still many common legal mistakes that are being made. Though entrepreneurs may think that their biggest concerns should be marketing their products or spreading the word about their brands, they should be cautious as to what legal mistakes they could be making. Many startups just want to get their businesses up and started as quickly as possible and may forget about important legal issues. Don’t let make mistakes that could be easily avoided if you would consult a lawyer before beginning.

 

Inaccurate Contracts

Businesses have many contracts. One of the most important contracts is with your vendors. If you need to purchase raw materials or outside services, you need to have a well-written contract. Lawyers can help draft your contract and provide you with the information that needs to be included. This also helps inform business owners on behaviors to avoid and what to keep their eye out for in the future. Do not enter into an agreement without a proper legally-binding contract.

 

Failure to create nondisclosure and non-compete agreements

Your company is going to have proprietary information that gives you a competitive advantage. Whether it is your customer list or an idea or formula for a new product or service, you want to make sure it is protected. Anyone who has access to this information must be legally bound to not reveal any projects your company may be working on. This will also protect your company if an employee leaves, they cannot take their clients with them.

 

Copyright, Patents, and Trademarks

Creating a business is a huge step. You built this idea from scratch and you put so much time and money into creating this company. You want to protect your name, products, and your intellectual property from being stolen. Know the specific laws on protecting the different types of intellectual property you could have. Avoid losing your business name or your blueprints for a new product.

 

You have worked hard to get to where you are at. Not having a legal professional helping you in your business endeavors could make your company’s future much harder. Take the initiative and hire a lawyer to help with business proceedings such as contracts, policies, and more.

 

**This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. In relation to your individual situation, always seek advice specific to your circumstances from a lawyer.

Common Legal Mistakes Business Owners Make: Part 1

Starting up a business is difficult. Even the most successful businesses to date have had bumps in the road. Business owners need to be aware that when creating a new entity in the business world, there is going to be red tape stopping them at almost every turn. Being prepared and having the right resources can make it easier for businesses to create success. Amongst the common mistakes that are made, many of them are legal mistakes.

 

Not Using a Lawyer

Many new businesses face the mistake of waiting too long before bringing in legal representation. They believe that they do not have similar legal obligations that established businesses have. They believe that legal issues will only come when the business scales and they have time before they have to hire a lawyer. This is a huge mistake. You want to hire a lawyer from the very beginning. This can save you massives costs down the road. If you have a lawyer right off the bat, they can help you establish your business correctly from the start.

 

Not Placing Terms and Conditions Policies

When you’re on websites, it is common for a “Terms and Conditions” checkbox to pop up. By checking this box, customers are agreeing to specific uses of your products and services and the obligations that come with being a customer. If you do not have these policies written and published, you have set yourself up for a lawsuit if a customer would choose to proceed with legal action.

 

Lack of Privacy Policy

Your privacy policy is to be public. Your customers and business partners have a right to know what you will be doing with the information they supply to you. If you are sharing your customer list, your customers have a legal right to know what is happening. The privacy policy will lay out the information it does and doesn’t share.

 

Business Tax Laws

Tax laws are complex no matter where your business is located. You should hire a legal professional to answer questions about what taxes your business is subject to, when you must file your tax returns, how often you need to make payments, and more. A lawyer can help keep your records and help file your taxes when it is required.

 

**This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. In relation to your individual situation, always seek advice specific to your circumstances from a lawyer.

Employment Laws: Employer’s Perspective Part 2

There are more to list of employment laws that are viewed as the most important. Continuing with the article Employment Laws: Employer’s Perspective: Part 1, we dive into the clauses regarding termination, dress code, remuneration, and behavior.

 

Termination

Employment can end for many unique reasons. Employees may resign or they could be terminated. There are certain rules that must be followed when terminating an employee which include a notice and their final pay. For termination, it depends on how long an employee has been with the current company. The time spent with the company and age can help determine how much in advance the notice period must be.

 

Dress code

Depending on what type of company the employee is working with, there could be a dress standard set in place. Employees will have to abide by the dress code during their employment. Not adhering to the dress code could result in probationary periods or termination  

 

Remuneration

Businesses can decide on the system they want to use to determine remuneration, as long as they comply with the laws. Payment should not be based on their race, gender, or religious affiliations. As long as employees are doing the same work, equal pay should be distributed to avoid discrimination lawsuits.

 

Behavior

Though it is an employee’s right to have a social life outside of work, companies can enforce certain behaviors outside of the workplace. With social media continuing to be a growing aspect in society, companies want to make sure their employees are representing the company culture properly. If an employee has a negative social media presence, it could affect how the company looks to consumers.

 

When drafting an employee contract, make sure to have a legal professional review or help draft it. There are many clauses that should be added in your contracts and should not be overlooked to protect the company and the employees. Having proper contracts drafted can save employers legal situations in the future and should be taken seriously.

 

**This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. In relation to your individual situation, always seek advice specific to your circumstances from a lawyer.

 

Employment Law: Employees Perspective

There are some of the strongest protections for workers when it comes to Australian employment laws. It ensures their safety from being exploited and allows them to be compensated in certain unfair situations that can arise in the workplace. When dealing with a legal matter in the workplace, it is recommended to consult a legal professional for proper and knowledgable advice. Usually, companies have their own legal team prepared for handling situations, but if an employee feels their rights have been breached, they should contact a lawyer.

 

What are employees protected from?

 

Adverse Action

Employees should not be afraid to make requests for information or the change of something within the company due to repercussions that an employer may threaten. Employers who threaten:

  • Terminating employment
  • Injury to an employment
  • Demoting employees
  • Discrimination

Unless the employee is not following the employment contract, it is unlawful to take adverse action against them.

 

For example:

If an employee feels they are not receiving the proper compensation so they request assistance from the Fair Work Ombudsman. If the employer finds out and demotes the employee, this is viewed as unlawful since the employer took adverse action against the employee.

 

Coercion

Employers do not have the right to make employees do something they do not want to do through intimidation or threats. Many of the adverse actions fall into the coercion category. The difference is that the employee did not take action first.

 

For example:

If an employee does not want to do something against their will (out of the scope of their job description) and the employer threatens to terminate the employee so they will do the task. That is coercive behavior and is counted as unlawful behavior.  

 

Misrepresentation

Employers are not able to give false information to employees. The employment contract should be available for employees to access and hold all the information employees need to know about their position. Whether it contains their annual leave, sick and carer’s leave and compensations, employers have to be forthcoming.

 

For example:

If an employee asks an employer about leave and the employer does not give the correct information to try and mislead the employee. The employer could give the employer the wrong number of weeks they get annually or for sick leave and it is considered misrepresentation.

 

As an employee, if you feel that you have lost your job for an unfair reason, feel as though you’re being coerced, or feel that your rights are being violated, seek out legal help. Determine whether or not this is a situation that can be handled with just your employer or if legal action is necessary. Even going to a lawyer for advice on the situation can help determine what actions should be taken to resolve the issue.

 

**This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. In relation to your individual situation, always seek advice specific to your circumstances from a lawyer.

 

 

Employment Laws: Employer’s Perspective Part 1

Starting a business is not an easy task. There are many legal, financial, and personal hurdles you need to overcome before launching a successful business. With legal issues, you have to not only focus on the immediate preparations but you also have to prepare for future situations. Many businesses, when they become successful, hire employees to help with the incoming waves of work. The business needs to protect themselves with clearly written contracts that help not only the business but also the employees. Whether the business is a fresh new startup or an established company, you will want to seek legal advice to draft employment contracts containing necessary clauses.

 

Restraint of trade clause

This clause will protect the employer’s interests after an employee leaves the current company. The two main types that are included are non-competition and non-clauses. It restricts employees from using confidential information and trade secrets from the previous company, working for a competitor after a certain period of time, and stealing customers or staff from their previous employer.

 

Annual Leave

This allows employees to be paid while taking time off of work. Based on ordinary work hours, full-time and part-time employees get four weeks of annual leave. Annual leave accumulates from the first day the employee is employed. Figuring out the correct way to calculate the annual leave of your employees can ensure future success if a situation comes up.

 

Sick or Carer’s Leave

Sick leave is when an employee takes paid time off because of an illness or injury. Carer’s leave is to take care of or support a family member or member of their household when they’re sick or has an unexpected emergency occur. It should be noted employees may have to give notice or even evidence of their sick or carer’s leave. Like annual leave, employees start accumulating sick and carer’s leave during the beginning of their employment.

 

Probation

Employers have the right to put their employees on a probationary period to assess if the employee is suitable for the position in the company. During the probationary period, employees will receive the same benefits as an employee not on the probation period. If an employee doesn’t pass the evaluation during the probationary period, they will receive notice when their employment will end and the accumulated annual leave hours that will be paid out.

 

**This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. In relation to your individual situation, always seek advice specific to your circumstances from a lawyer.

Business Standards in Australia

Companies function differently in all parts of the world. Whether you are just starting out in a career path, looking to move overseas for work, or doing business with a foreign country. Australia has different business standards than other countries.

 

Businesses in Australia typically follow the work schedule of 8:30 am to 4:30 pm or around 38 hours per week. Australians consider punctuality to be of high importance and it reflects poorly if you are tardy. They are clear and concise when it comes to their business communication. When presenting, they will not focus on any unnecessary details. They get to the point and stress the facts without any exaggeration.

 

During meetings, they will arrive early, especially if they are leading the meeting. They will make appointments a few days in advance and have the objectives planned out with an agenda to share during the meeting. Business cards are handed out at the beginning during the introductions. When introducing yourself in a business situation, you can state your full name but your first name will most likely be used during the rest of the meeting.

 

Since the agenda has already been set with focused objectives, you should lead the meeting as stated. This will help others determine your trustworthiness. Meetings may seem casual in a sense but they are taken very seriously.

 

Though there is a hierarchy in Australian businesses, it does not reflect during meetings. No matter the position or level an employee is at, they will express their opinions on the matter. It is frowned upon to leverage your position to make negotiations. Managers in a company will typically seek advice from employees and share information regarding any decisions that need to be made. The employees and managers share mutual respect from each other to accommodate the needs of the company.

 

Gifts in a business situation are not necessary and sometimes time can be looked upon as bribery. During the closing of a deal or due to negotiations being closed, gifts can be appreciated. Gifts that employees receive from government-funded organizations have some restrictions and cannot be accepted if they have a high-dollar value.

 

**This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. In relation to your individual situation, always seek advice specific to your circumstances from a lawyer.