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Costly HR mistakes your company needs to avoid

Human resources are the lifeblood for any business, and HR professionals play a role in nearly every aspect of your company. Depending upon the size of a business, there may be an HR team for larger companies or one person for smaller firms, and that person may also be the owner in some instances.

HR policies connect every department and employee in your organization for recruiting, hiring and training as well as providing structure for performance reviews and salary plans, including pay raises, bonuses and terminating employees when necessary.

Men as victims of sexual harassment

Workers in Ohio and across the United States should feel safe to work in their place of employment. People should feel comfortable and able to perform their duties without fear of being harassed. Yet, sexual harassment in workplaces across the nation still continues. Although many people generally see women as the victims of sexual harassment, this is not always the case. Men too can be victimized in the workplace. However, many men are too embarrassed to report these types of incidents. 

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there were 7,609 reported incidents of sexual harassment in 2018. Of these cases, 15.9% were made by males. This number has increased from the 11% of sexual harassment cases reported by males in 1997. The true number of sexual harassment cases is thought to be even higher, as many cases of sexual harassment involving male victims go unreported. Men may be worried that a claim of sexual harassment could ruin their reputation or job within the company. 

Ensure workers’ comp retaliation is not a part of your business

As a business owner, you are aware of the numerous behind-the-scenes expenditures it takes to keep your company running. Workers’ compensation insurance is one of these expenses. At the law office of Gottschlich & Portune, LLP, we know that workers’ compensation can be costly, especially if an employee suffered a serious injury on the job. However, it is imperative for you and other Ohio business owners to understand that discouraging or disciplining an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim can lead to serious consequences.

Understandably, you want to keep your costs low by limiting your company’s workers’ compensation claims. You may do so by encouraging safety at the workplace and ensuring safety standards are practiced. You may also offer rewards and incentives to employees for exceeding safety standards and preventing workplace accidents. However, you and your managers should understand that workers’ compensation retaliation is unlawful. FindLaw explains workers’ compensation retaliation in the following ways:

  • Threatening to reassign or terminate employees who file a workers’ compensation claim
  • Telling injured employees they must use their own insurance
  • Falsely claiming injured employees will face legal action for seeking workers’ compensation
  • Withholding information on how to file a workers’ compensation claim
  • Penalizing employees who are injured on the job

Why should you consider creating a pet trust?

You consider your pet to be part of the family. As a family member, you’d like to make sure your pet will go to a good home in the event you pass away or become incapacitated.

If you’re interested in ensuring your pet a happy future in your absence, you might consider getting a pet trust.

Why is estate planning so important?

If you have not yet started an Ohio estate plan, it may be because you think that estate planning is something that only wealthy people do. Such is not the case. In fact, many middle-income families have discovered too late that the lack of a good estate plan has caused them many problems and heartaches when a loved one died.

FindLaw explains that everyone needs an estate plan, no matter the extent of his or her wealth. The most pressing reason why is that if you die without at least having a will, Ohio law states that you died intestate. What this means is that state law will determine who inherits your assets and in what proportion, regardless of what you may have intended or orally promised.

Should you register your trademark?

Whether you are a small business owner or the CEO of a larger corporation, you are most likely concerned with protecting your company’s brand. A trademark is used to represent a company, idea or product through use of an emblem, logo, symbol or sign. Although you are not required to register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, there may be benefits to doing so. 

Before you register your trademark, you must ensure that it has not already been registered. You can search through the trademark database for similar marks. Once you have ascertained that the mark is not being used by another company or product, you can begin the registration process. Registering your trademark gives you sole ownership of the brand, name, logo or emblem. If anyone else uses your trademarked symbol once it is registered, you can file a case of trademark infringement. Infringement occurs when another company or brand uses your registered trademark, and as a result, potential customers or clients could mistakenly buy the other brand thinking that they are purchasing your product. 

How to ensure your non-compete is enforceable

Whether you are a small business owner or working for a larger corporation, you may be familiar with non-compete agreements and how they can protect your business. Non-compete clauses are created to keep your company’s mission, business agreements and inner workings safe and protected from competing companies. When you hire a new employee, you want to ensure that they will not disclose any of your private company information with other businesses should they quit or become terminated from their position. It is critical that you set up your non-compete arrangement in such a way that it is enforceable and stands up legally in your contract. 

When drafting the contract, make sure your contract includes all of the important components of a non-compete agreement. This includes how long employees are restricted from working for a competing business once they are terminated, as well as the geographic area they are bound to. You should also be specific regarding the market in which the agreement is involved. In Ohio, employers must ensure that the skills restricted by the non-compete were developed during employment at the business. Furthermore, the agreement must not pose a strict hardship on the employee. 

Preventing inheritance disputes

The best way to avoid inheritance disputes in Ohio is to plan for them and try to prevent their occurrence. Clear and comprehensive estate planning makes the grieving process and disposition of your assets easier for your loved ones. Plus, a will that is well drafted greatly reduces the likelihood of it being challenged in court. 

Inheritance disputes take place all the time, and especially when there are significant assets at stake. Forbes reported that the late great singer Aretha Franklin’s estate is currently being contested by multiple family members. While Franklin’s attorneys and family had for some time been under the assumption that she had died intestate, three handwritten wills were later discovered and are now the subject of a court dispute. 

Checks and balances to prevent elder abuse

The cognitive and physical impairment many seniors face can place them at serious risk of financial exploitation if a malicious party manages to gain control over their finances. This is why it is important to establish who has medical and financial decision making power in the event you or a loved one in Ohio become too infirm to make those decisions. In some cases, you may even want to split that power among multiple individuals.

One thing to do early on is to make sure an undesired party does not move in to take over you or your relative’s finances. As Consumer Reports points out, it is important to set up all the appropriate documents, like a will or a power of attorney document, that names and empowers proxies to act in the event a person becomes incapacitated. Remember that you have the power to name who cares for you or your family.

What do you need to know about Ohio non-compete agreements?

Everyone knows the business world can be brutal. Companies come and go, and if you want to carve out your own space and build toward success, you need a solid plan. You need a competitive advantage. And you need to protect it.

Recently, the two lawsuits that highlight the ways Ohio businesses might use non-compete agreements to protect their business interests. However, as the article noted, the law for these contracts isn’t always black and white. If you want to use them to protect your business, you need to understand how they work.

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Gottschlich & Portune, LLP
201 East Sixth Street
Dayton, OH 45402

Phone: 937-802-2397
Phone: 937-802-2397
Fax: 937-824-2818
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