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Legal issues raised by social media

Posted on July 29, 2019 by admin

The rise of social media creates a number of legal issues that business owners must be aware of when utilising platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Businesses should consider a proactive approach in implementing both preventative and reactive ways of mitigating potential risks. Confidentiality:Legal issues arise when confidential information is disclosed on social media. In accordance with privacy regulation, individuals must be notified when personal information is being collected and the disclosure of such information is prohibited unless it is for certain purposes. To mitigate the risk of an unwanted privacy breach, you should constantly revisit the strength of your online security by updating software, creating strong passwords, and backing up data. Misleading conduct:Under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), an individual acting in trade or commerce must not make any false or misleading statements about the goods or services that they are providing. Claims made on social media, as well as any comparisons with competitors, must be substantiated. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) provides guidance to businesses to ensure their social media pages are not breaching the misleading conduct provisions of the ACL. Defamation:Defamation occurs where content is published or broadcast that injures a third party’s reputation. […]

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The legal obligations of marketing

Posted on June 27, 2019 by admin

Businesses must be mindful of the relevant regulations when setting prices and advertising products or services, to ensure they aren’t misleading their customers. Like many other areas of business, marketing efforts are regulated and need to comply with the legal requirements. Advertising:When promoting products or services, businesses need to ensure that any branding, statement, quote or other representation is not false or misleading. There are some tactics businesses use to try to advertise products that make them more appealing but don’t necessarily give the full picture, such as: Component pricing; when the price of a product or service is advertised or displayed in separate parts. When advertising using component pricing, companies must also provide the full price inclusive of additional costs in a prominent way. Bait advertising; where a product is advertised at a certain price without a reasonable supply. Bait advertising is illegal if a business sells the product knowing that they cannot meet expected demand. Email marketing:When using an email marketing service for your business, there are specific Australian email marketing laws to comply with. The Spam Act 2003 governs email marketing and messages sent via SMS, MMS and instant message in Australia. The Act covers three main […]

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Avoiding unfair business practices under Australian Consumer Law

Posted on June 3, 2019 by admin

Under Australian Consumer Law, there are a number of sales practices that are illegal for businesses to engage in when dealing with their customers. Unfair business practices encompass a wide range of activities, such as misleading or false statements and deceptive conduct. Here are some examples of illegal activities that you should be aware of as a business owner in order to avoid harsh penalties. False or misleading statements:It is unlawful for a business to make false or misleading representations about their goods or services that they are supplying, offering to supply, or promoting. For example, businesses may not make false or misleading statements about the standard or quality of goods or services, testimonials from other customers about the goods or services, or their price. While it will depend on the circumstances of each particular case, the maximum fine for this offence is $220,000 for individuals and $1.1 million for a body corporate. Accepting payment without intending to supply:Payment cannot be accepted for goods and services if businesses do not intend to supply, they intend to supply materially different goods or services, or if they are aware that they will not be able to supply the goods or services in […]

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Identifying workplace discrimination

Posted on May 6, 2019 by admin

Employers have a responsibility to ensure their employees and people who apply to work for them are treated fairly. Set out in federal and state anti-discrimination legislation and the Fair Work Act 2009, unlawful workplace discrimination occurs when an employer takes adverse action against an employee or prospective employee because of their background or certain personal characteristics. The types of characteristics that are protected from discrimination are: Race, colour, national or ethnic origin or immigrant status. Sex, pregnancy or marital status. Age. Physical or mental disability. Religion or political opinion. Sexual preference, gender identity and intersex status. Occupational health and safety legislation requires employers and employees to comply with measures that promote health and safety in the workplace. Therefore, it is the employers’ responsibility to eliminate or reduce the risks to staff’s health and safety that may be caused by workplace bullying. Everyone has the right to work in an environment free from bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence. Employers need to be aware of their responsibilities in order to implement a working environment or workplace culture that isn’t hostile. Targeted practices implemented to address inappropriate workplace behaviour and deal effectively with any complaints will help to ensure a safe environment […]

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Small Business Fair Dismissal Code

Posted on March 25, 2019 by admin

During the course of your business, you may be required to terminate an employee. The Small Business Fair Dismissal Code operates to help employers follow a fair process and protect against unfair dismissal claims when terminating employees. The Fair Work Commission will deem a dismissal to be fair if an employer follows the Code and can provide evidence of this. The Code defines a small business as one with fewer than 15 employees. These can include both permanent or casual workers employed on a regular and systemic basis. Staff members who have been employed for less than 12 months are not eligible to place an unfair dismissal claim. If a worker is terminated after this period of time but the employer has followed the Code, then the dismissal will be regarded as fair by the Commission. The Code outlines when it is fair to dismiss an employee in the following instances: Summary dismissal: If an employer believes that a staff member’s conduct is sufficiently serious to justify immediate dismissal, then it is fair to terminate said employee without notice or warning. Serious misconduct includes theft, fraud, violence and significant breaches of occupational health and safety procedures. Other dismissals: In some […]

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Understanding contracts

Posted on February 21, 2019 by admin

Working in a business environment, you will inevitably come across contracts at some point. There are basic employee contracts you will encounter when hiring or starting a new job, but then there are more complicated contracts that require greater attention be paid. A contract is a legally binding agreement so they must be entered into carefully with a full understanding of the commitment. Kinds of contracts:Contracts can be written, verbal or both in some circumstances, with the more formal contracts being required in writing. Both kinds are legally binding if they contain the elements of a contract. Verbal contracts are hard to prove and rely on the trust of a person unlike written agreements with physical evidence. Elements of a contract:For a contract to legally binding it must contain; an offer an acceptance intention to create a legal relationship a consideration e.g. money Before you sign: Read everything, including the fine print, carefully Ensure negotiated terms and conditions are included Seek legal advice Take time to consider and understand the contract Don’t be pressured into signing Never leave blank spaces on a signed contract, cross them out if irrelevant Make sure that you and the other party can make changes […]

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What you need to know about Gender Identity Laws

Posted on January 24, 2019 by admin

Gender identity can be a sensitive subject but the need for awareness is ever growing. In Australia, sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status are all protected under The Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (SDA). It is unlawful to treat any person differently because of these reasons. Being aware and considerate of someone’s identity is not silencing your opinion or forcing ideas onto you, it is a way to protect your business and employees. It is important to understand the terminology of gender identity and why it is significant to those who identify as such. Directly or indirectly, you can discriminate and be held accountable, for security and peace of mind, familiarise yourself with the laws and establish an inclusive environment for everyone. It is also important to be mindful that not everyone is comfortable sharing their gender identity.

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Employer’s legal responsibilities regarding sexual harassment

Posted on November 29, 2018 by admin

An employer can be held vicariously liable if they fail to take all reasonable steps to prevent workplace sexual harassment. Implement a sexual harassment policy consistent with discrimination legislation to avoid legal ramifications. Discrimination legislationThe Sex Discrimination Act is a Commonwealth statute that applies to all of Australia. The Act defines sexual harassment as unwanted or unwelcome sexual behaviour, which makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. Sexual harassment is not interaction, flirtation or friendship which is mutual or consensual. Examples of sexual harassment include: Staring or leering Unwelcome touching Intrusive questions or statements about one’s personal life Requests for sex or repeated unwanted requests to go out on dates Inappropriate advances on social networking sites What you can doEmployers should take reasonable steps by drafting a sexual harassment policy. The courts will judge the policy’s efficacy should an employee bring a claim against you. The policy should contain: Adequate details defining sexual harassment Be endorsed by the employer through workplace education and training on procedures Outline the disciplinary courses of action should a breach occur

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Changing a will after death

Posted on October 30, 2018 by admin

Contrary to popular belief, a will may be effectively changed after a person’s death. Entering into a deed of family arrangement is a way to vary the terms of a will and can be established provided that all beneficiaries or interested parties come to a consensus on a specific outcome. Circumstances for a deed of family arrangementA deed of family arrangement will be an option in the following circumstances: There are doubts about the meaning of the will The beneficiaries desire to rearrange the distribution of the estate To compromise a claim against the estate agent where there is a challenge to the will To create an estate proceeds trust under taxation legislation Compliance rulesConsider the following points to make sure your your agreement is binding and abides by taxation legislation: All interested parties including the executor of the estate must sign the deed For greater certainty that the agreement is binding seek court approval of the terms of your agreement No adverse Capital Gains Tax consequences will be incurred if the requirements of 128-20(1)(d)(i) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 are met Applying for eligible concessions minimises any Stamp Duty triggered by the agreement

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Employer’s annual leave obligations

Posted on October 5, 2018 by admin

Annual leave or holiday pay, allows an employee to be paid while they have time off from work. The law confers obligations on employers to provide rights to their employees depending on the status of that employee. All of your employees are entitled to annual leave, aside from those who work casually. Keep compliant by following this basic checklist. Minimum entitlementsEmployees working full time accumulate four weeks of paid annual leave each year of service. This leave will accrue based on the number of ordinary hours that they work. Annual leave will continue to accumulate during paid leave but not unpaid leave. Shift workersIf you are using shift workers, they are entitled to five weeks of paid leave. The award or registered agreement must apply to the employee. When can annual leave be taken?Annual leave can be taken as soon as it is accumulates. You cannot compel your employees to take the leave each year. However, an employee cannot unreasonably refuse your request to take annual leave, if they have accumulated it over a long period, such as ten years.

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