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Online Legal Issues & Lawsuit Prevention for Small Businesses

One of the hurdles that small business owners face is staying up to date on legal issues without paying a small fortune for full a time in-house legal team.

You’ve probably already done plenty of research into what applicable laws and regulations could affect your small business, but there are some common issues that you may have overlooked with regard to online spaces:


Email Marketing

All businesses, regardless of size, are required to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act. Despite its name, the CAN-SPAM Act does not mean you “can spam” a large number of recipients with irrelevant or inappropriate messages throughout the day.


The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.


Each violation of the Act is subject to penalties of up to $46,517, but following the law isn’t complicated. The main requirements are simple:


1. Don’t use false or misleading header information.

2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines.

3. Identify the message as an ad.

4. Tell recipients where you’re located.

5. Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.

6. Honor opt-out requests promptly.

7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.


For additional information, visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Business Guidance Resources page: CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business.


ADA Compliance

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits businesses from discriminating against people with disabilities. While most people understand the requirements to provide physical accessibility (e.g., installing a wheelchair ramp or modifying a rest room), some overlook the importance of complying with online accessibility – a/k/a, your website.

You’ll want to invest in online accessibility options. Additions like high-contrast text and backgrounds, magnifying features, options for keyboard-only access, and screen reading features are all great ways to make your small business accessible to all.


In general, the government fine for an inaccessible website can range from $55,000 to $75,000. If the situation isn't fixed and these violations continue, you can expect to be charged additional fines of about $150,000. For additional information, visit the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s ADA Update: A Primer for Small Business.


Accessing Digital Assets of a Deceased Business Owner

When a person dies owning an interest in a limited liability company, the ownership of that membership interest is affected by how the member held title to the membership interest.


There are many cost-effective options available for protecting your business assets in the event one or more of the business owners is deceased or incapacitated. In addition to creating healthcare directives, designating beneficiaries on bank accounts, and recording beneficiary deeds, a business owner should create a plan of action for the successor(s) of the business.

Estate planning for a business owner does not need to be expensive or complicated. A business succession plan should include, at minimum, an operating agreement, powers of attorney, assignment of the business to a trust (or alternate transfer on death plan for the owner’s interest in the business), a keyman insurance policy, and an executed authority to access digital assets (which is different than a power of attorney).


If you would like to discuss any legal matters, contact Glover Court Solutions & Estate Planning. We are happy to offer FREE consultations, reviews of your current estate plans, and case evaluations; and while, we cannot give legal advice, we can provide general legal information to help you navigate your legal matter(s). We also network with dozens of qualified attorneys and legal paraprofessionals throughout the Valley whom we would be happy to refer you to in the unlikely event we are unable to help.

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