The Legal Obligations Businesses Don’t Know They’re Breaking
To run a business, you must have your ducks in a row. Any small slip is enough to result in a hefty fine or even a court case, depending on the severity of the situation. It’s part of the reason you hire an attorney and accountant combination. Not only do you want to ensure the formation is solid, but you never want to fall foul of tax laws.
The same logic applies to almost every process. Where possible, bosses and leaders attempt to cover all the bases to limit their exposure. A penalty is bad enough, yet a needless one you could have taken care of beforehand is even worse.
Unfortunately, even with the most thorough of precise detail, several companies continue to break the law. Why? It’s because they don’t know the legal obligations exist. Continue reading to find out what they are and how you can limit the damage to your firm.
GDPR stands for ‘General Data Protection Regulation,’ and it’s an EU regulation that aims to protect internet users’ privacy. It does this by outlining strict rules businesses must follow when a person lands on their website, from making them aware of cookies and how they use them to giving people the option to object.
Of course, it’s a European thing, so what’s it got to do with non-EU countries? If you want users based in Europe to use your platform, you must adhere to the rules. Data protection is a big issue since ordinary people started to realize their personal information was profitable. As a result, you have to prove you are compliant or be hit with a fine.
British Airways, one of the largest airlines in the world, received a $20+ bill because it didn’t take GDPR seriously in 2018. This goes to show that the EU is playing.
Microsoft Office is a tool many companies use to their advantage. Whether it’s creating Word documents, PowerPoints, or Spreadsheets, Microsoft has a firm grip on software in the workplace, yet one feature you might be unaware of is that using MS without the necessary license is illegal.
Therefore, if the product comes up as “unlicensed” when you open one of the services, you could be breaking intellectual property copyright law. “Could be” means that it’s fine as long as you have an authorized free version or are using outdated software you paid for previously. A fake version or one that bypasses the need to invest in MS Office is punishable.
Most businesses don’t see the problem as there are hardly any cases of organizations being pulled up. Still, with the likes of Google Docs, a similar suite of features that is free with a Google account, it’s an unnecessary risk.
Insurance is a tricky subject as certain policies are mandated by law. For example, every company that trades will require public liability, professional indemnity, and business contents insurance. Knowing what you need and what you can avoid makes life simpler, what confuses things is that some insurance features are legal requirements but unknown.
The main one is Employers’ liability insurance. Although it’s tempting to buy into the myth that only companies with employees must invest in it, the reality is different. As a rule, any business that uses human resources, whether they work for the firm or are outsourced, should carry employers’ liability cover. Otherwise, you and the organization could be exposed if anything happens.
Don’t forget guests and customers, either. If you run a store, you’re expected to keep anyone on the premises safe and secure.
A knock-on effect of having a responsibility to keep people safe is the ability to apply first-aid. However, merely having a kit with the basics isn’t enough, not if you sell to the public or have a workplace with employees.
In this case, it’s imperative to have a health and safety officer who understands how to deal with potential emergencies. This is because, by law, a person from your company must go on a course and keep up to date with the latest practices and procedures. As such, they are capable of administering life-saving help until the paramedics arrive.
The good news is, you can use the position to your advantage. Many businesses make it slightly higher-paying to encourage volunteers, whereas other bosses make it clear the responsibility is good for promotions.
Are you breaking any laws you don’t know about? There’s a chance you are, which means you must act before it’s too late!
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