Do you sell products online or over the phone? Did you know the law requires you to honor any claims you make about your shipping policies and proactively notify customers about delays? Enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule (also known as the “30-Day Rule” by direct marketers) was prompted by the massive increase in online shopping over the past decade and spells out the ground rules for making promises about shipments, notifying consumers about unexpected delays, and refunding...
Ever wondered if you can legally re-use or reproduce copy or content created by someone else? Whether you’re writing a blog, creating copy for your website, or using an image in your marketing materials – here are some tips to help understand what the law allows: The Lowdown on Copyright Intellectual property law is an interesting area. For example, did you know that copyright is granted the moment a piece of work is written, recorded or created? Copyright, unlike trademarks or patents, does not typically need to be formally...
Do you use or are you thinking of using email to connect with your prospects and customers? If so, then the payoffs can be fruitful. For every $1 spent on email marketing in 2011, the estimated return on investment was an astonishing $44.25 (source: Pingdom). But did you know that every email you send to your customers, whether it’s your monthly e-newsletter or a one-to-one email sent to promote your products or services, must comply with the law? Here’s what you need to know: The CAN-SPAM Act – What It Means to Your...
Do you have a plan for an accident or injury that occurs in your workplace? While the U.S. workplace has become a much safer place over the past century, accidents do happen. The latest data from the Department of Labor shows that nearly 3.1 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses were reported in the private sector in 2010. This is the equivalent of 3.5 cases per 100 workers. Even more disturbing, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that 4,690 workers were killed on the job in 2010. "Every day in...
Own a small business? Perhaps you’ve heard about small business certification, but do you actually need to certify your business as small? For most small businesses, the answer is no. But if you want to take advantage of business opportunities such as selling to the government (a.k.a. “government contracting”), then you have to obtain some form of certification. Why? The federal government sets aside a variety of contracts for competition among small businesses, women-owned small businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned...
Do you think of yourself as a flexible employer or even just a nice one? According to a recent report by the California Chamber of Commerce (and covered here by OPEN Forum) – The Top 10 Things Employers Do to Get Sued – many small business owners may unintentionally be violating employment laws even as they are just trying to be flexible or nice. Much of the problem arises from the fact that state laws vary enormously. But some of these mistakes are universal and are often prohibited by federal law. The report is worth a read, but...
If you are new to freelancing or thinking of becoming a freelancer, you’ll no doubt have lots of questions, especially about the legal and regulatory paperwork you need to obtain and manage throughout the business year. Freelancing, particularly if you are unincorporated, is one of the least paperwork-intensive forms of business ownership. Nevertheless, you are still a business and you need to be sure you have the right licenses or permits, make estimated tax payments on time, report your earnings each year, and deal with client...
You’ve probably heard about the controversy surrounding employers asking job applicants for their Facebook user names and passwords as part of the background check process. It sounds shocking, but it happens – particularly among law enforcement entities – but even among private sector employers who feel they have a reason to go that extra step to weed out potentially undesirable employees. Unethical as it may seem, what does the law say about this? Led by the state of Maryland, which became the first state to ban employers...
Whether you’re looking to diversify your product line or leverage cheaper-made merchandise, selling imported goods in the U.S. can be an important ingredient in small business success. Interestingly enough, importing doesn’t always necessarily cannibalize the economy here at home. Research from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (cited in this USA Today article) suggests that for every dollar spent on a Chinese-made item, 55 cents goes to U.S. businesses for services such as marketing and sales. So Americans are...
Do you know how much privacy your employees are entitled to? For example, if you feel employees are abusing their work privileges, is it legal to intercept emails or phone conversations to find out what they’re up to and confirm your suspicions? Can you ask potential job candidates for their Facebook profile log-on information? Here are some general guidelines that can help. Screening Job Candidate’s Social Media Profiles There has been plenty of coverage in the media recently about companies and public sector organizations asking...
Top Rated Articles
About This Blog
Legal terms and rules explained
- July 2014 (13)
- June 2014 (17)
- May 2014 (23)
- April 2014 (28)
- March 2014 (21)
- February 2014 (16)
- January 2014 (22)
- December 2013 (15)
- November 2013 (26)
- October 2013 (17)
- September 2013 (24)
- August 2013 (21)
- July 2013 (26)
- June 2013 (24)
- May 2013 (29)
- April 2013 (29)
- March 2013 (27)
- February 2013 (26)
- January 2013 (30)