Most Popular Small Business Posts – May 2012

What’s on your mind? Employee handbooks, business insurance, medical marijuana, and IP protection, among other things.

For your convenience, here’s a look at the most-read Small Business Support posts in May 2012:

1. Think That Email Isn’t a Contract? Think Again

“You’ve got mail!

And, as two recent court decisions indicate, you might also have a binding contract. The rulings stand as important reminders to everyone who thinks that email communications are different because ‘it’s just email.’” Read on>>

2. 5 Tips for Writing an Effective Employee Handbook

“An employee handbook is one of the most important communications tools available to your business. It establishes expectations for your staff, procedures for resolving conflicts, and policies regarding a range of improper and illegal behavior.

Equally important, such workplace guides set forth your legal obligations and requirements as an employer, while articulating the rights and responsibilities of the people who work for your company.” Read on>>

3. 5 Types of Business Insurance Coverage (You’ve Probably Never Considered)

“If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you might’ve noticed that lately we’ve been meting out advice in parcels of five. (See for example: 5 Tips for Writing an Effective Employee Handbook, 5 Ways the NLRB Regulates Employer-Employee Relationships, 5 Considerations for Protecting Your Trademark, etc.)

Really, there are only two possible paths forward. Either we quit with this fives fetish, or go all in for the remainder of the week. We’re still deciding.” Read on>>

4. Brinker Ruling: 5 Lunchtime Takeaways for California Employers

“On April 12, 2012, the California Supreme Court ruled in Brinker Restaurant Group v. Superior Court of San Diego that while employers are required to provide meal breaks to employees, they need not ensure that employees take them.

It’s a significant ruling for California employers because it clarifies the rules regarding rest and meal breaks. Equally important, it eases burdens by allowing employers to provide breaks on a schedule that meets their business needs.” Read on>>

5. Connecticut and Delaware Pass Medical Marijuana Laws to Protect Employees

“State lawmakers appear to be warming up to the idea that workers who use medical marijuana need protections against discrimination in the workplace.

Currently, sixteen states and the District of Columbia permit the ingestion of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Another twelve are considering similar legislation. Few states have regulations that protect the rights of workers who use it, however.” Read on>>

6. 5 Considerations for Protecting Your Trademark

If you’re running a business, you’ve probably got a trademark. From law firm Akerman Senterfitt:

‘Put simply, your trademark is your brand name. Legally, a trademark is defined as a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of those things. It is something visual (but it can be a sound or even a scent) that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark is the same as a trademark, except that it names a service rather than a tangible product.’” Read on>>

7. LLC vs Corporation? A Critical Decision During Business Formation [Video]

“Business formation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There are, as they say, numerous moving parts to every startup that influence the early decisions you make with regard to financing, corporate structure, compensation, equity, taxes and others such critical issues.

However, as this excellent Bloomberg video shows, if you’re building a startup and plan to 1) use other people’s money, 2) attract talent, 3) use equity to grow … ‘Corporation’ structure appears to trump the LLC for convenience and predictability.” Read (and watch) on>>

8. Business Litigation: What to Do When You’re Hit with a Lawsuit

“Lawsuits can happen to the best of businesses, including yours. And when they do, the steps you take at the outset can mean the difference between a positive and a negative resolution.

For your reference, five considerations in the event your company is sued…” Read on>>

9. Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Are Dead! Long Live Mandatory Arbitration Agreements!

“The National Labor Relations Board continues to target mandatory arbitration agreements in employment contracts. From law firm Barger & Wolen:

‘… the National Labor Relations Board has filed a formal complaint against 24 Hour Fitness, alleging the gym company’s arbitration opt-out policy compels employees to waive their rights to utilize the civil litigation system, and in particular, class actions… 24 Hour Fitness requires employees to opt out of the mandatory arbitration agreement within 30 days of receiving the employee handbook.’” Read on>>

10. Transgender Employees Protected Against Workplace Discrimination, EEOC Rules

“In a recent decision, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that the Civil Rights Act protects transgendered employees from discrimination in the workplace.

In its ruling, the EEOC said that Mia Macy, a transgendered woman, could proceed with a charge of gender identity discrimination against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Macy claims that she was not hired by the Bureau after she announced she was transitioning from male to female.” Read on>>

Find more law updates at JD Supra>>