Law

Our legal category looks at the business codes of practice, laws and regulations that affect small and medium businesses to help you ensure your company meets all the necessary legal requirements for running a small enterprise.

Small Business Data Protection Compliance: 3 Common Mistakes

Small Business Data Protection Compliance: 3 Common Mistakes

Data protection is a serious consideration for small businesses, but many businesses fail to seriously consider it as they’re busy selling to, and servicing clients. In my experience, I’ve come across situations where clients will keep thousands of documents in absolute disarray: no referencing system, no segmentation, no clear thought process beyond: “I need to store this piece of paper somewhere, and this box has room.” Often, they won’t have any idea what records they need to keep or destroy – or indeed, how to keep or destroy them. If it were merely disorganised, it might be understandable – but failing to properly store, organise, and secure documents can have severe consequences. A repeated failure to keep records in order can, for example, lead to penalties of up to £3,000 from HMRC... »

Want to Avoid Claims Against Your Small Business? This Simple Exercise Will Help

Want to Avoid Claims Against Your Small Business? This Simple Exercise Will Help

With legal disputes, as with most things, prevention is better than cure. So whilst I can’t offer a litigation antidote nor a cure-all for every dispute wound, there are some straight-forward measures that can help you to minimise the risk of claims against your business. As legal advisors, we are often brought into disputes part-way through the process. Often, with the benefit of hindsight, parties to litigation (and their advisers) can see where things went wrong and how they could have better protected themselves. Repeated exposure to such cases has left me with super-powerful fore-sight glasses. I now see litigation risks. Everywhere. They are so obvious to me that I’m sometimes shocked that other people can’t see them too. Yet my seeming affliction is a gift: a gift that can save you ... »

What You Need to Know: E-Commerce, Websites and The Law

What You Need to Know: E-Commerce, Websites and The Law

In the world we now live in, having a website or e-commerce site now goes hand in hand with running a successful business. Whether you use it as a platform to display your services, as an informational source or to sell from; a website is now absolutely key to business success. Without one, you’re certainly likely to be left lagging behind your competitors. The internet has allowed many businesses to start-up online rather than in traditional stores or office premises; enabling businesses to cut back on costs and reach audiences that were previously unreachable. However, along with revolutionising our lives, the internet has also revolutionised the laws required to safeguard this unknown territory. Running a website and in particular, selling goods online, comes with a set of regulations w... »

How to Combat Sexual Harassment in The Workplace

How to Combat Sexual Harassment in The Workplace

Harassment of a sexual nature is one of the most common forms of harassment and is specifically outlawed by the Equality Act 2010. Yet, despite increasing awareness of the problems it can cause in the workplace, sexual harassment still needs to be addressed as part of an ongoing dialogue between employers and staff. It is therefore essential for every business to consider ways they should plan to prevent and resolve any potential issues. Employees must know that there is a route they can take if they experience sexual harassment in the workplace, and that their complaint will be dealt with seriously and have no adverse effect on their future at the company. Suffering in silence Recent research from the Trades Union Congress and the Everyday Sexism Project has concluded that over half of wo... »

Suing: What you Need to Know as a Business

Suing: What you Need to Know as a Business

It would be nice to think that as a small business that you and your customers will keep agreements, pay on time and resolve any issues smoothly and amicably. However, sometimes conflict is inevitable, and whilst you should avoid going to court at all costs in these situations it is useful to know the procedure involved. In this article, you will find the key questions you should be asking as a business when relationships turn sour, accompanied by answers that should tell you what you need to know when suing someone as a business. Is it worth going to court? Going to court is stressful, expensive, time-consuming and distracting – even if you have a watertight case. You should never sue impulsively. Instead, try to step back, look at the situation rationally and weigh up the pros and cons o... »

Employment Law: An Introduction for Small Businesses

Employment Law: An Introduction for Small Businesses

Whilst employment law may seem like a complex and daunting topic, the issues are actually fairly simple for business looking to employee its first employee. As a business who is new to employment issues, you are only likely to run into a few specific areas in the early stages. This article covers the basics of employment law from the point of view of a beginner. We cover all the areas of law you are likely to encounter including contracts of employment, discrimination issues, sickness and sick pay and how to dismiss employees safely. If you need more information, see our employment law section, which includes in-depth articles on all of the topics we touch on here and much more. What do I need to know about employment contracts? Employment contracts are the agreement between you and the em... »

Employment Law: The Basics

Employment Law: The Basics

If you run a business with staff, you need to know your employment law – it’s that simple. Keeping in touch with developments and developing smart policies in line with the law may seem tedious, but failing to do so can be disastrous for your business. In this article, you will find a helpful run-down of the basics of employment law in all the areas you will run into it as a business, and what to do when things go wrong. What should I be aware of when looking for staff? At the interview and selection stage, you must take care to avoid letting prejudice affect your decisions. Discrimination is illegal on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership (marital status), pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. When int... »

A Guide to the Employment Tribunal Process

A Guide to the Employment Tribunal Process

It is a sad fact of business life that disputes between employees and employers are common. The majority of these disputes will play out at an employment tribunal. Even if you consider your relationship with your employees to be a harmonious one, and consider the likelihood of disputes to be low, it still pays to have a considered strategy for dealing with tribunals. Employment law is increasingly developing in favour of the needs of employees and with awards increasing, being unprepared for tribunals can see you losing out massively. A well-thought out plan will allow you to prepare and present the best possible defence of your actions, and prevent disgruntled employees from taking you to the cleaners. Here we cover the stages of the tribunal process, how to defend a case and prevent a di... »

Health and Safety Law: How to Carry Out a Risk Assessment for Your Business

Health and Safety Law: How to Carry Out a Risk Assessment for Your Business

If you are a business dealing with health and safety law for the first time, you will see the mysterious phrase ‘risk assessment’ pop up a lot. You will know that, as an employer, you must carry out a risk assessment in order to comply with the law – but does this just mean a cursory glance around the office looking for obvious dangers, or a forensic examination of all the fixtures and fittings? In this article, we cover all you need to know about carrying out a risk assessment as a business, along with practical tips to ensure you stay on the right side of the law. Identifying health and safety hazards in business A ‘hazard’ is anything that has the potential to harm someone. It isn’t just limited to the obvious things like heavy machinery or dangerous chemicals – even things such as kett... »

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