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Legal matters your small business needs to take care of

judge30906246.jpgOpening a business is a very stressful and tiring process. When you have additional legal obligations to add to your small business, it can add onto the stress level you already have. Hiring a good attorney to make sure you are going through all of the legal loopholes and filing the paperwork will allow you to run your business effectively. Take the time to fulfill the legal obligations or you can have trouble with the IRS. Without filing the paperwork correctly, you will open your business up to lawsuits along with labor disputes and also trademark violations.

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Creating a Smoke-Free Workplace - Legal Implications

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As the public is becoming more and more educated on the danger of smoking and the results of secondhand smoke on nonsmokers, support for smoke-free workplaces is growing.

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How to Know If You Need a Lawyer

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At some point, especially when starting up a new business, all businesses will need the advice of a lawyer. In the business world, having a knowledgeable, reputable lawyer is invaluable. There are a number of reasons a business should have legal representation, as a qualified attorney can help them avoid legal snares associated with employees, taxes, or litigation.

In some cases, you won't need a lawyer. For example, if you are going to incorporate, you don't necessarily need a lawyer for that - you can call the Secretary of State department or check a book out from the library for step-by-step instructions of how to go about it yourself.

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How to Find a Good Lawyer

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In the business world, having a knowledgeable, reputable lawyer is invaluable. There are a number of reasons a business should have legal representation, as a qualified attorney can help them avoid legal snares associated with employees, taxes, or litigation.

Some common reasons a business would go about hiring a lawyer would be:

  • When forming a new business
  • Drafting employment agreements
  • Merging or selling the business
  • Disputes between shareholders
  • Environmental and regulatory compliance on both the state and federal level
  • Ensuring the business complies with state and federal employment laws
  • Defense of employment related claims such as harassment and discrimination

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Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

Which do you use in greetings around the holidays - Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

Data from www.GiftBasketsDeluxe.com indicates that 65% of you used Merry Christmas in 2008.

And what's interesting, is that this is almost exactly the opposite of 2007.

Why the switch?

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The hard truth about firing legally

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You may be a manager in any type of business and you have most likely had to address an employee that is not working out. You can talk to this employee and let them know what is expected of them and hope that it works. If the employee just doesn't get it or maybe the situation is more then poor performance. If this is your situation then you may need to fire this employee. Before you do that you need to make sure that you are fully aware of the hard truth about firing legally. If you are unsure of the laws to fire someone and you still fire that employee then you and the company can have a big problem. Let's look at some of these truths.

In today's society it is very hard to actually fire someone. There is a lot of paperwork involved in firing an employee no matter what type of business it is. Then even if you do follow all the rules in firing an employee your business can still end up with a wrongful termination suit against them.

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Avoiding claims of prejudice or racist decisions

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It seems like every time you watch the news there is a racist claim or a person accused of being prejudice. The workplace in particular is vulnerable to racist claims. How do you avoid claims of prejudice or decisions about racism? Racism and prejudice claims are a tough topic for many people. Many businesses in particular do not know how to handle these topics. Let's explore some options that can help your business avoid claims of prejudice or racist decisions.

Racism and prejudice claims are a result of intolerance. People treat others differently because of the color of their skin. A few bad members of race can tag line a bad reputation for all the others who are decent people. Many establishments do not recognize racist acts. They are often difficult to "catch in the act". Each member in the workplace should be treated equally. Ignorance is a poor excuse for losing a good employee. As a company you need to set the right example on racism. It needs to be clearly explained that racism or claims of prejudice will not be allowed and any employee who engages in such activities will be immediately terminated. Your staff should not they should not site back and watch acts of racism happen. They should speak up to a manger if they observe such behavior.

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How to Protect Yourself Legally When Firing Someone

In today's society, businesses have to be more careful than ever when firing an employee. Because of new laws regarding termination, there are more steps and paperwork required in firing a person. In addition to new laws, many angry former employees will not hesitate to bring a wrongful termination suit to court. For these reasons, employers must learn the best way to fire someone and to protect themselves legally in the process.

The process of firing someone begins long before the actual firing is done. The employee that is to be let go should be given adequate warning. The warnings should be both verbal and written and the employee should be well aware of these warnings. All warnings should be documented and signed by the employee, demonstrating that he/she is aware of the reasons for censure. If the employee won't sign the warning because he/she finds the warning without reason or feels that the warning is too severe, a third party must sign it to show that the employee was given the opportunity.

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ADA signage requirements and sources

Recent changes in laws regarding commercial buildings and disabled persons are something you should know about if you own a business or plan on owning one soon. The United States’ Government passed the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1992, which set a series of guidelines for businesses to follow in order to make their facilities accessible to people with physical handicaps. Theses laws were a necessary move forward in the representation of the rights of individuals with special needs. Prior to the passing of the ADA, a business could have little or no access for those with disabilities, making it virtually impossible for such individuals to utilize the commercial space. This not only hurts business, because of the loss of customers, but clearly puts those with disabilities at a terrible disadvantage. As a concerned business person you should pay attention to these guidelines. They not only will help you have a more successful business, but also have become United States law. In order to better serve your disabled customers, the government has specifically detailed the ways in which certain parts of the business should be used. One of the most important parts that any of us will recognize is the use of specific signs in specific places.

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Business contract boilerplates for small business

A boilerplate is a section usually found at the end of an agreement that lists, in detail, binding legal provisions. This portion of a contract is often glazed over, but doing so could cause you a lot of future trouble. Those who simply glance quickly over these business contract boilerplates will often be "burnt" if legal action is taken against them. You should council with your attorney whenever signing any serious contract.

Now that you have your own business, you will be the one writing the boilerplate for your own business contracts. Your legal council is your best friend when you are drafting these documents, so do not underestimate his role in this process. Neglecting to receive all the legal help necessary at the beginning of your small business process can lead to devastating and destructive financial ramifications in the future.

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How to Avoid Sexual Harassment Charges

These days, sexual harassment is a real issue for all companies. It should never be tolerated in the workplace. Because it is illegal, your company could face fines, lawsuits, and eventual ruin if sexual harassment occurs in the workplace and goes unchecked.

What Is Sexual Harassment?
In order to avoid sexual harassment, you must first make your employees aware of what it entails. Sexual harassment is not just limited to lewd comments and improper touching; it encompasses a wide range of behaviors and comments. Even office décor can be considered sexual harassment. Below is a list of just a few of the actions that can be considered sexual harassment:

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Email Etiquette

Email is one of the most popular means of communication within the workplace; in fact, roughly 90% of all workers who have access to the Internet during their workday use it to write and send emails. People prefer email for good reason - it's fast, efficient, and easier, as many people will opt to send an email than pick up the phone and try to get a hold of someone or make a trip to someone's office.

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How do I evict a tenant?

By definition eviction means the removal of a tenant (in most cases by a law officer). Other terms used for “eviction” include “unlawful detainer”, “summary possession”, or “forcible detainer”. Before a tenant can be officially evicted, the landlord must go to court and win the eviction lawsuit.

Eviction is a legal process that is far more involved that just locking the tenant out of their apartment. Eviction laws vary from state to state. There are many reasons why a landlord would want to evict a tenant. When you decide to rent out a property, you have some expectations attached. Obviously, you want to be compensated. You want the tenants to take care of the property. And you want to know if you can trust the tenant to pay their rent on time, to be respectful of other tenants, to fulfill the agreements of the lease agreement, etc.

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How to Create an Effective Drug-Use Policy

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Drugs in the workplace are a real problem for many employers. While employees may not be using illicit drugs in the facilities themselves, 90% of drug users have jobs, and 20% of employees between the ages of 20 and 30 used at least one illicit drug in the past month. So how does that affect you as an employer? Drug users on the job utilize almost twice the benefits of non drug users, are absent almost twice as much, and file twice as many workers' compensation claims. As you can see, those who use drugs can quickly drain a company of its resources and reputation.

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Tax Advantages of Incorporating


Incorporating a business is something any business can do, regardless of its size or number of employees. Incorporating allows business owners to separate their personal identity and financial assets from that of their business. When a company is not incorporated, creditors or partnerships can seize the business owners' personal assets, such as homes, savings, or cars. However, when a business is incorporated, only the money put into the business can be seized or lost in the event the business tanks or cannot support itself financially.

There are many advantages to incorporating. In addition to separating personal identity from business identity, incorporating gives a business credibility. A corporate business, regardless of the size, that has "inc" or "corp" at the end of its name conveys a sense of credibility. Incorporating also allows capital to be raised in an easier manner; investors are more likely to invest in a company that separates its owner's personal assets from his or her business assets.

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How to Know If You Need a Lawyer

At some point, especially when starting up a new business, all businesses will need the advice of a lawyer. In the business world, having a knowledgeable, reputable lawyer is invaluable. There are a number of reasons a business should have legal representation, as a qualified attorney can help them avoid legal snares associated with employees, taxes, or litigation.

In some cases, you won't need a lawyer. For example, if you are going to incorporate, you don't necessarily need a lawyer for that - you can call the Secretary of State department or check a book out from the library for step-by-step instructions of how to go about it yourself.

Continue reading "How to Know If You Need a Lawyer"

How to Incorporate

Incorporating a business allows business owners to separate their personal identity and financial assets from that of their business. Incorporating is something any business can do, regardless of its size or number of employees. When a company is not incorporated, creditors or partnerships can seize the business owners' personal assets, such as homes, savings, or cars. However, when a business is incorporated, only the money put into the business can be seized or lost in the event the business tanks or cannot support itself financially.

There are many advantages to incorporating. In addition to separating personal identity from business identity, incorporating gives a business credibility. A corporate business, regardless of the size, that has "inc" or "corp" at the end of its name conveys a sense of credibility. Incorporating also allows capital to be raised in an easier manner; investors are more likely to invest in a company that separates its owner's personal assets from his or her business assets. Incorporating also involves tax breaks, which is a main reason many business owners decide to incorporate.

Continue reading "How to Incorporate"

How to Find a Good Lawyer

In the business world, having a knowledgeable, reputable lawyer is invaluable. There are a number of reasons a business should have legal representation, as a qualified attorney can help them avoid legal snares associated with employees, taxes, or litigation.

Some common reasons a business would go about hiring a lawyer would be:
When forming a new business
Drafting employment agreements
Merging or selling the business
Disputes between shareholders
Environmental and regulatory compliance on both the state and federal level
Ensuring the business complies with state and federal employment laws
Defense of employment related claims such as harassment and discrimination

Continue reading "How to Find a Good Lawyer"

Incorporation as a Corporation or an LLC - Which is Right for You?

At some point during the business start-up process, a business owner must decide how he or she is going to structure the business. There can be many ways to do this, but it is generally done in the form of a corporation or an LLC (limited liability company). Before deciding which is right for you and your business, it's important to examine the pros and cons of each.

Corporations
There are two types of corporations - S Corporations and C Corporations. Basically, the income of an S corporation is not taxed under federal tax laws, whereas an S corporation is. There are a number of advantages to registering a business as a corporation, which include:
one of the biggest advantages of incorporating involves tax breaks, which is a main reason many business owners decide to incorporate. Some of these tax advantages include:

Continue reading "Incorporation as a Corporation or an LLC - Which is Right for You?"

Legal Issues in Checking the Background of Employees

Many employers are opting to run background and credit checks on potential employees. In some fields, such as those where applicants will be working with minors or working in environments where there is a great deal of confidential information is kept, background checks are required for safety and liability reasons; for example, a convicted bank robber would most likely not be hired to work at a bank.

Other times, employers will run background checks simply to verify the person has no criminal record or to verify past employers, and then match that information to that entered in the application or the resume.
Regardless of the reason for the background check, there are certain rules and regulations in place designed to protect applicants when background checks are being obtained about them.

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