Articles

What Small Business Owners Need to Know about COVID-19 Relief Bills

Unprecedented Times; Unprecedented Aid Beginning in March 2020, Congress moved swiftly to offer relief from the financial hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (also known as the CARES Act) was signed into law on March 27, 2020. It directed two trillion dollars in funding towards seven key areas: individuals, large corporations, state and local governments, public health, education, federal social safety net programs, and small businesses. Further influxes of

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Protecting your home-based business from legal claims

Many more people are creating home-based businesses or adding another gig to their repertoire these days. But many of those entrepreneurs do not realize that the same legal requirements apply to them as to any other business. A business attorney can help you make sure your ducks are in a row. Currently, the SBA has nearly 30 million small businesses on record and, believe it or not, most of them are home-based. That equates to nearly

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Small businesses sued over ADA website compliance

Around 60 small businesses in Colorado have been sued by an out-of-state law firm over alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The businesses claim that the New Jersey-based law firm is targeting small-to-medium-sized businesses. The lawsuits claim that the businesses have websites that are not compliant with the ADA. Blanchard Family Winery, which has both a brick-and-mortar location and a website, is one of the businesses named. A suit claims that a blind man

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Forgiveness application available for smaller PPP loans

A simpler forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program loans of $50,000 or less has been issued by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The prior version of the application had more complex documentation requirements and required several calculations that have now been removed. Instead of the calculations, the new form asks borrowers to confirm that the loan was used for eligible expenses and to provide supporting documentation to prove that these expenses were paid. The borrower must also certify

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How does working from home affect homeowners’ insurance?

Businesses across the country have moved many of their professionals into work-from-home arrangements. That has led to some confusion as to who’s liable and whose insurance will pay out in the case of injury or property damage. Generally speaking, if your business has full-time employees who now work from home, your workplace coverage should extend to them at home. Your insurance would also cover any company property they use at home. It should include workers’ compensation

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Supervisor’s remark leads to age bias claim

A recent Michigan case shows that even when an employee may have been fired for legitimate performance-based reasons, a lone stray remark suggesting improper motives could land you in court. In that case, Kenneth Lowe, a 60-year-old manager at a molding plant, was fired after 40 years with his company, supposedly for performance and behavior reasons and because his position was no longer necessary. According to the employer, a new general manager at the plant quickly

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Employer that fired worker for using CBD didn’t violate ADA

A municipal employee who used cannabidiol (CBD) for anxiety could not bring a disability bias claim against her employer for firing her after she failed a drug test, a federal trial judge recently decided. The employee, Mae Hamric, worked as a cultural arts program specialist for the Murfreesboro, Tenn., parks and rec department. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2011 but did not disclose that to the city when it hired her. However she later

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Federal court ruling on ‘joint employers’ creates uncertainty

A recent ruling by a federal court judge in New York expanding the definition of a “joint employer” may put employers who use staffing agencies at greater risk of wage-and-hour liability. The Department of Labor’s recent “final rule” had changed the standard for joint employment under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act for the first time in 60 years. Previously, in determining if a business was a “joint employer” of another company’s workers and therefore jointly

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Walmart settles claim over ‘physical ability tests’

A recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission action against Walmart illustrates the dangers of hiring assessments that could be seen as discriminatory, particularly when they impact men and women differently. In this case, Walmart imposed a “physical ability test” on people seeking jobs at its 44 regional grocery distribution centers. Employees at the center take cases of grocery items from shelves and stack them onto pallets, which are then wrapped and loaded on to trucks to be

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Discrimination claims in Covid-19 era: a potential trap for employers?

The Covid-19 pandemic has created a lot of thorny issues for employers, such as navigating wage-and-hour laws with employees working from home, workplace safety regulations for those still at the office and the overall complexity of operating as normally as possible in an abnormal world. Additionally, there’s the reality that many businesses are struggling to stay afloat. While nobody likes to let employees go who haven’t done anything wrong, staying in business in many cases may

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