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Simple legal tips for business start-ups

Make Sure all Employees Have Contracts With Your Business
It is very important to have a contract of employment in place, from day one, for anyone working inside of your business as an employee. Make sure that all new employees are entitled to work in the U.S., or you could face heavy penalties. Employment contracts, as is the case with all contracts, should act to protect both parties.

Know your Employment Laws
Employment laws in this country are very careful to explain what can and cannot be done with regard to offering someone employment. Before you fire someone, hire someone else to take their place, or change their terms and conditions of employment, it is a good idea to get legal advice. If you don't, you could find yourself open to claims for unfair dismissal, discrimination or breach of contract. Also warn employees that discrimination, sexual harassment, and other illegal activities will not be tolerated in your work environment..

The Importance of Health & Safety
If you fail to carry out health and safety requirements, you coud find yourself in court, with increasing insurance premiums, and you may find challenges even obtaining insurance. In the worst cases, your business may be closed until you adhere to laws outlining what must be done in your business with regard to health and safety. Government agencies are legally entitled to carry out spot checks on your premises at any time.

Make Sure you are Insured
Insurance is vital. There are also legal requirements for basic levels of insurance for employers. If you sell products, product liability insurance can protect you if someone injured by a defect in your product successfully sues you. Would it be better to just have an attorney on call, just in case?

Many people find it hard to imagine that work they have done will result in a claim for hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, most people only view themselves as a small link in a chain, and they don't realize that the effects of a mistake in their work can end up being out of proportion to their individual contribution.

Terms and Conditions
Spell out, in black and white, your terms and conditions. If you don't, there are a vareity of things which can happen. By not specifying the rules by which you do business, you are giving your customers the licence to pay you when they feel like it. And, if they have to file for bankruptcy before paying you, you may not be able to reclaim your goods or get payment out of the bankruptcy settlement. Create Terms and Conditions for your business, and ask a third party business minded professional, or an attorney, to check them. You must ensure your customer agrees to them, and signs them when placing an order, particularly on the Internet.

Data Protection
If you keep any information about individuals, employees or customers, you must have a policy in place. This videoexplains the laws which have been passed in recent years, and what can happen to you if you lose an employee's or customer's personal information.

Read the Small Print
Read all agreements carefully to ensure you understand what you are getting yourself into. Be very wary of signing personal guarantees. Banks often seek to over secure' their lending. Once you have signed any paperwork you will be legally bound to any terms and conditions that are set out in the small print, no matter how unreasonable they may be. It is imperative that you read all small print before signing anything. You can also have an attorney review documents for you.

Property Pitfalls
Be careful when signing lease agreements, especially for property. Even if you move and transfer the lease, you could find yourself liable if the next person defaults. Check whether you will be liable to repair and improve the property under the terms of your lease.

Avoiding legal pitfalls, and following some of these simple tips will help ensure that your business runs smoothly, and will also prevent you from receiving any unwelcome fines or other unexpected challenges.

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