In today’s volatile business landscape, it seems like no company is safe from a legal threat. Just this past week, technology giant Apple was sued for $10bn by a man who claimed he invented the iPhone. The ease of which companies can be sued is astounding, so it’s important to make sure you’re protected.
But that’s easier said than done. Is it likely that business owners will spend their nights brushing up on industry law? Probably not. It’s such a vast topic that it’s nigh-on impossible to take in everything anyway.
So then, with this in mind, here are five important things you can do to make sure you’re on the good side of the law. It’s unlikely you’re committing a massive blunder, but better safe than sorry!
By law, you are bound to ensure that any personal data you keep records of is protected. This means that…
- You can only use data for its intended purpose
- You cannot share data with any parties who do not need it
- You cannot distribute data to any other companies without the owner’s consent
This data could be either customer data or employee data, but either way, keep it under lock and key. Personal data should be kept secured with relevant security features, and should only be accessed when needed.
These security features include basic anti-virus software, firewalls, and strong passwords. This kind of technology is important for any business in the 21st Century, so don’t fall behind.
Consult a legal specialist
As we mentioned at the top, it’s nigh-on impossible to brush up on every area of business law. You’re bound to miss something, no matter how hard you try. This in mind, perhaps a suitable course of action would be to seek legal help, and receive this advice yourself.
A source like Ellis Whittam could advise you in employment law, for example. Having checks like this across every area of your business could save you money that’s wasted on any lawsuits. As with the example about Apple, lawsuits can be very, very costly – especially if you lose.
Register your business in time
Your business must be fully registered with the government, so your tax payments and VAT can be processed properly. Failure to register can result in a hefty fine, which could have damaging effects on your organization.
Generally speaking, you must register before the first October in your businesses’ second tax year. If you started up a business in July 2016, this would be October 2017. I’d encourage you to register as soon as possible though – if you’re on the books, you’re safe from fines.
Look after your employees
All full-time employees are entitled to a strict set of benefits, dictated by law. You are allowed to go over these if you so choose, but you are not allowed to go under. Your employees may not realize you aren’t treating them correctly, so make sure you are!
You must assess that the package you are offering them is compliant with statutory benefits. This includes:
- Your staff are on or above national minimum wage
- Your staff are entitled to take time off if they are ill
- Maternity and paternity leave
- A minimum number of holiday days per tax year
There are also plenty of other ways you can be supporting your workforce too, so look into those. But, as long as you supply the bare minimum, you’ll be protected by law.
Check working conditions
There are certain parameters, set by government, that exist to boost workplace safety. Should you fail to meet these conditions, you could have an employee injury on your hands. This could lead to a lawsuit, and ultimately, you have yourself to blame.
So, make sure the workplace is fit for purpose. Make sure you supply the relevant safety equipment, if applicable, so that your staff are safe when working. You also need to be careful if you employ any young teenagers, or someone who is pregnant.
Asking them to do certain tasks – like heavy lifting – could in fact be a breach of employee law. Of course, you’d have to be pretty silly to ask a pregnant lady to lift something heavy, but you get the principle.
As you can probably tell, keeping up with the law will be a real pain. Of course, in all likelihood, you’re doing just that, and will need very little course adjustments. But if you’re concerned, starting with these five basic tasks can help put your mind at ease.
All in all, just look after your staff, keep data secure, and seek legal aid if you have any worries. Most businesses are doing just fine in this area, and there’s no reason to assume why you won’t do the same.Tags: breach of employee law Data protection full-time employees legal specialist national minimum wage