Legal matters

Legal matters Find startup business help, news, features and advice on small business law, from how to trade mark to protecting intellectual property.

Advice How do I defend or make a legal claim?

If you receive a claim of legal action against your business, you need to make sure everything is in writing. Don’t discuss anything about the claim with the person who issued it over the phone – refer everything to writing.

Advice How do I protect my personal assets?

There are plenty of businesses that fail. And it’s important that if your enterprise takes a turn for the worst, your personal assets are protected.

Advice What are the main business laws I need to be aware of?

Getting up to speed with your legal obligations as a new business owner can be complex, but you don’t need to know everything by yourself.

Advice What grounds should I dismiss someone on?

sually a business will fire an employee if they have either clearly broken a workplace policy, or have committed a serious crime. However, it is more likely a sacking will occur when a policy has been broken. These can relate to occupational health and safety regulations, sexual harassment or even privacy. You are right to expect a reasonable level of behaviour in your workplace, and if this is not being met, following a number of warnings, you may be able to fire the employee. Some of these grounds could include theft, fraud, violence or the threat of violence and breaching health and safety policies. Also consider policies around information technology and what staff are, or aren’t, allowed to share over corporate networks and the internet. Breaches of policy could include sharing pornography over a network, or giving out other inappropriate material. Monitor the use of social media. Following some recent legal cases there are now grounds to fire staff based on comments made on social media – especially if those comments are made during work. Make sure these policies and procedures are clear, documented and are known to all employees. No staff member should have an excuse if a workplace policy is broken.

Features Start-up legal basics: Getting the right structure

Over the coming weeks, StartupSmart will run a five-part series covering the legal issues entrepreneurs face. In part one, we examine the challenge of choosing the right legal structure. BY LACHLAN McKNIGHT.

News Business reacts to Ted Baillieu’s shock resignation as Victorian premier

The Victorian business community says the resignation of Ted Baillieu as premier may represent a good opportunity for more openness surrounding changes to business policy.

News Wotif.com in $4m legal tangle with Naomi Simson over sale of GoDo

RedBalloon founder Naomi Simson has become embroiled in a legal battle with Wotif.com, after claiming that she and her husband are owed more than $4 million for their previous venture GoDo, which was bought by Wotif in 2009.

News Penalty rates to remain unchanged in an Abbott government, angering SMEs

Under an Abbott government, the Productivity Commission could be charged with overhauling workplace laws, but penalty rates will remain unchanged.

News SMEs warned to get up to speed on new parental pay scheme

Just as businesses were getting used to the idea of the federal government's maternity leave scheme, experts are warning SMEs to stay on top of the latest addition to parental benefits – Dad and Partner Pay.

News Banking regulator targeting lax standards for business lending

The country's banking regulator has said it will start cracking down on banks if it believes lending standards have become too relaxed, but business leaders say SMEs are still strapped for cash.

News “True-blue” company forced to take patented technology to Texas

The founder of Victorian company FreshBins has highlighted the importance of having a good patent attorney, after lamenting the lack of local investment in FreshBins’ patented technology.

Features Hiring an apprentice: A start-up guide

Hiring an apprentice can be very rewarding – both from a business and a personal perspective. Here is everything you need to be aware of before you start. BY MICHELLE HAMMOND.

News Bowen calls Abbott's small business claims "hypocrisy and nonsense"

Small Business Minister Chris Bowen takes a shot at Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's small business credentials.

News Business crunched as average payment terms remain at 52 days

Businesses have been warned to get their cashflow organised, with new research showing companies are now taking an average of 52 days to pay their bills.

News ASX won’t be launching a start-up platform, but do start-ups care?

The Australian Securities Exchange says it won’t be copying the London Stock Exchange, which has launched a new platform for start-ups, but a start-up financing business says Australian start-ups don’t care.

News Pollenizer launches law start-up following new privacy policy laws

Pollenizer has launched a new online start-up dubbed LawPath, which is offering a free template to help businesses review their privacy policies after the laws changed in December last year.

News Government backflips on plans to regulate SME access to credit

The federal government has backed down on draft legislation which proposed regulating small business credit after criticism it would make it harder for small business to get funding.

News Mr Rental ordered to refund $300,000 for unfair contract term

Household goods rental franchise Mr Rental says it has taken “the necessary steps” to satisfy the corporate regulator, which has ordered it to refund more than 1,500 customers because of an unfair contract term.

News Australia Post's franchising hopes shattered by a 'secret agreement'

Australia Post's shelved plans for franchised outlets will come under the legal microscope in a court case involving a disgruntled franchisee.

News Deloitte Private to assist start-ups via BlueChilli partnership

Venture technology agency BlueChilli says it is on track to invest in 100 start-ups by 2016, after announcing it has joined forces with Deloitte Private’s Entrepreneur Connect program.

News Tech giants Apple, Microsoft, Adobe to appear before IT price inquiry

After months of deliberations and refusals to appear before the Federal Parliament's probe into IT pricing, tech giants Apple, Adobe and Microsoft have been summoned to appear before the inquiry and its board.

News Government details flexible work changes, experts say clarity still missing

New legislation is on the cards for more flexible workplace arrangements, but industry groups say they are still in the dark about how it will work.

Features An industry wishlist for Small Business Commissioner Mark Brennan – and his take on things

Mark Brennan recently began his new role as the federal small business commissioner. Here are the key issues industry groups want Brennan to address, along with Brannan’s views on the key issues facing business. BY MICHELLE HAMMOND.

News Fair Work changes coming, business hesitant over flexible working rights

Flexible work arrangements are very much on the election agenda, as Labor releases more details about legislation changes.

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