Every enterprise in the world, regardless of size, is subject to a raft of rules and regulations. If you disregard your legal responsibilities, you risk incurring significant penalties and even jail time.
The list of legal liabilities for businesses is complex and exhaustive. In addition, the nature of your business may have its own set of industry regulations to adhere to as well. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on five universal issues that affect businesses across the board.
Personal Injury Liabilities
Employers owe a duty of care to employees and outside visitors attending your place of work. If an accident were to occur that is reasonably foreseeable, your company will be liable to pay damages. However, personal injury liabilities extend far beyond accidents that cause immediate injury.
Although maintaining a safe working environment is largely common sense, there are long-term injuries that are not so obvious. Health and safety standards include providing ventilation systems that promote good air quality, reducing the risk of musculoskeletal issues due to bad posture and avoiding health issues related to working with computers (H&S Display Screen Equipment Regulations 1992).
Not only is it important to acknowledge you collect personal information and explain how you intend to use the data, privacy policies should be easy for the average person to understand and should not include any obscure clauses with hidden meanings.
Understand Employee Rights
Companies that employ paid staff, remote contracts and volunteers have an obligation to uphold the rights of individuals that perform a service for them. Employee rights typically cover issues such as:
- The contractual conditions of employment e.g. working hours, equal pay, discrimination, leave, pension, etc.
- Informing employees of potential redundancy payments
- Equal career development opportunities
- National minimum wage
Whilst the statutory rights of employees are designed to oversee fair treatment in the workplace, the rights of relevant parties will differ depending on their role and association with a company.
Copyright, Libel and Slander
Companies are responsible for the actions of your employees. The increased use of social media networks and other digital platforms has exposed companies to the risk of potential legal liabilities in relation to copyright, slander, and libel.
Marketing departments have to be extremely careful over what you say about competitors. Even if you attempt a covert dig in an ad, it could be construed as libel or slander.
The more likely scenario is an infringement of intellectual property. If marketers use third-party images or videos, ensure they are in the public domain and free to use.
Hire A Competent Attorney
As we move deeper into the digital age, it is pertinent for firms to appoint a legal representative you can contact for advice and assistance. Legislation and commercial regulations are extremely complex, and ignorance of the law is not a defense.