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Dresser recall: Is company good citizen or lax with safety?

Has multinational furniture company Ikea been a good corporate citizen in the wake of noted product liability concerns?

Or, conversely, is it acting in a callous and lax manner that critics contend justifiably opens it up to harsh criticism and material liability?

Better cultural training may shield businesses from lawsuits

As an employer, your staff depends on you to keep the workplace safe and professional. To do so, you’ve likely set up multiple anti-harassment training sessions to educate your employees on proper work etiquette. Still, discrimination and harassment might be an ongoing issue that leaves your company at risk for a lawsuit. Does it seem like training just isn’t affecting positive change?

Ineffective training is a common problem, notes the Society for Human Resource Management. If most of your anti-harassment sessions aren’t mandatory, it’s likely that many employees won’t attend at all. Luckily, there are ways to improve these discussions and protect your business from a lawsuit in the process.

What accommodations am I required to make?

When you posted the job vacancy, you likely had the perfect candidate in mind. Perhaps you did not envision a particular person, but you certainly hoped to find someone who was enthusiastic, hard-working and skilled for the position. There were several candidates who came close, and perhaps it was a difficult choice, but you filled the position and prepared to get to work training and acclimating your new hire.

Then he or she revealed a disability that required accommodations. Maybe you have dealt with this before, when an employee had cancer, struggled with depression or developed symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. You are always willing to accommodate your employees, but you feel that the exceptions your new hire requests are far from reasonable. How can you know?

No, it's not marriage, but a business relationship can seem similar

Some people in Ohio and nationally can rightly claim to be married twice: to their spouse and to their business partners.

One informative overview on small to medium-sized companies essentially notes that, duly stressing that there is much in common between wedlock and many business partnerships.

AT&T/Time Warner merger: Is this going to get done?

If communications giant AT&T has its way, it will soon merge with Time Warner and own outright its Turner Broadcasting unit.

That linkage, states a recent Bloomberg article discussing a potential AT&T/Time Warner business combination, would "reshape the media landscape" by uniting the country's biggest satellite television provider with the company that owns major cable networks like CNN, HBO and TBS.

Material update; revisiting contractual arbitration clauses

We noted in a blog post from earlier this year the deep concern of one Ohio legislator and other like-minded thinkers across the country regarding contractual arbitration clauses.

The stated fear of people like Ohio's Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown is that such provisions in agreements with financial institutions weaken consumer protections. Critics say that mandatory arbitration eliminates valuable courtroom safeguards.

Dayton leading the way in LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination laws

The Humans Rights Campaign, a nationwide organization of three million members, has named Dayton as a leader in passing LGBTQ-inclusive laws and policies that ensure all citizens and employees are treated as equals. These laws are being put into action at a city level, as the state of Ohio does not have statewide non-discrimination laws focused on LGBTQ-inclusivity.

Some of these new policies include health benefits and city services that have an LGBTQ focus, as well as new best practice policies on local non-discrimination laws.

Taxes a key discussion topic in today's business climate

It's a mantra that has been front and center in the American business world for years, with its attendant drum roll for change getting consistently louder in recent months: tax reform.

Indeed, and notwithstanding that not much yet has been materially adjusted on the corporate tax front during the current presidential administration, the expectation that a sea change is coming is driving the stock market and keeping business principals fixated on the possibilities.

What are the steps to take when stepping away from business?

Starting a small business is a lot of hard work. It takes time, dedication and many sacrifices to bring an entrepreneurial venture to a successful point. After years of running your business, there may come a time when it is necessary to step away. Whether it is due to illness, retirement or another personal reason, you may find it necessary to have a wind-down plan in place for your Ohio small business. 

You may not be able to control the future, but having a plan in place to dissolve your company, if it is ever necessary, can help you face whatever is ahead with confidence. It's not as simple as closing up shop and turning off the lights. It is important to take the appropriate steps before you step away for good.

Expanding a business into a franchise

When a business owner hits on a successful business model and builds a strong brand, there are various avenues they could pursue for trying to reap further benefits from their efforts. Among these is to expand their business into a franchise.

There are lots of benefits that can come with being a franchisor. Selling franchises can bring in revenue while also giving the brand one has worked hard to develop the opportunity to grow even further.

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