When you run a business, you’ll have all kinds of responsibilities and obligations to maintain. If you don’t keep on top of them, you run the risk of ending up with all manner of litigation problems. One thing you must absolutely enforce in your business is your legal obligations.
The last thing you want to happen is for your company to get sued by customers, employees, or even the government, for failing to adhere to your legal obligations. The question is, how can you future-proof your legal obligations? What steps must you take?
Health and Safety
The first area to look at within your business is health and safety. As an employer, you are responsible for your workers’ health and safety, regardless of how often they work for you.
From a customer’s perspective, you must also ensure they are safe when they visit your premises. Plus, you should take appropriate steps to ensure all products or services supplied to customers are safe to use.
You can check compliance with various laws such as OSHA by conducting risk assessments. It’s possible to do this yourself, but it makes sense to have a professional risk-assess your premises and the products and services you provide.
If your risk assessments flag up any problems, either now or potential future ones, you must take immediate steps to remedy those issues.
Doing so will diminish the risk of legal problems like lawsuits launched against your company for unsafe working practices or products. Consider working with a lawyer to avoid things like personal injury lawsuits.
Data Privacy and Security
Your business will undoubtedly hold all kinds of digital information on customers and employees. The thing is, how secure is that data you hold? What security mechanisms have you got in place to ensure data privacy and prevent information from getting hacked?
If you can’t confidently answer those questions, you will likely need to invest some time and money to improve your company’s data privacy and security. For instance, all data you hold must get stored on secure servers, either in-house or in the cloud.
MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication)
Your business should consider security mechanisms such as MFA (multi-factor authentication). That way, if someone managed to hack into your servers, they still couldn’t access sensitive data such as account details or financial information.
MFA can, in theory, get bypassed by hackers. However, they’d need to have access to each customer’s mobile phone so that they can view text message or authentication app codes. Some MFA authentication may even use biometric technology as a third layer of protection.
Privacy Law Compliance
The other thing you must look at is whether any online data gets transferred and stored according to relevant laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act and the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).
Most businesses will have websites where people (i.e., customers) can log into them and carry out actions like order or manage products and services. Have you checked whether your website complies with all relevant privacy laws and regulations in your area?
One action you must ensure, whether you have a customer-facing website or not, is that all data you hold on other people gets encrypted. For example, your website should have SSL/TLS encryption to prevent any man-in-the-middle attacks from hackers.
And when you store data related to customers, employees, and even suppliers, that information should also get encrypted on your servers. Encryption isn’t hard to implement by a competent IT security expert or security-conscious web developer.
It’s worth noting there are several different types of encryption. It goes without saying that you should select the highest level of encryption to use on your website and backend servers.
If your business only works with sub-contractors, you can probably ignore this section as it will not apply to your company. However, if you do employ people to work for you on a salaried basis, you need to keep reading this vital information.
Employees have a plethora of rights in the workplace, such as the right to work in a safe environment and the right to employment without fear of discrimination. Falling afoul of the laws pertaining to employee rights can mean you end up in a legal minefield.
Many laws protect employees, irrespective of their vocation, contract with your business, or even whether they work on a part-time or full-time basis. As a responsible employer, it’s your duty to ensure your company complies with all relevant employment laws and regulations.
Your company must put in place steps to ensure employees have a safe working environment. Plus, it must not discriminate against them according to their race, disability, gender, or even religious persuasion.
It also makes sense to have an employee handbook available to all staff. The guide should detail things like dispute and grievance resolution processes, including information on how to appeal any decisions.
It would make sense for your company to consult with an employment law expert. That way, you can check your compliance and address any areas of concern.
Last but not least, your business needs to review its regulatory compliance regularly. Many industries have regulations where companies must adhere to specific laws and follow certain guidelines.
It’s not something all companies need to worry about, but you must check if your business must comply with specific regulations. Again, a lawyer can help you review and navigate any regulatory compliance processes.
Keep in mind that regulations can and do change occasionally, such as to keep up-to-date with evolving technologies or processes. By doing regular compliance checks, your business won’t end up in any legal hot water.
The above examples are a few of the significant areas of concern for most businesses. Be sure to check and adapt any internal processes in your company to future-proof its legal obligations.