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DID YOU GET IT IN WRITING! WAIT, DON’T SIGN THAT! WHAT’S UP?

Posted By Jennifer Willis-Jost, ASU Law Group, Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Agreements are the Foundations of your Business –Make Sure they Meet your Needs and Ensure your Success.


Are you getting conflicting advice? You’ve been told to get things in writing, but when things go awry and you ask for help, your mentors are shocked: did you really sign this? Many aspects of your business revolve around agreements – you offer to sell a product or service, customers accept. You solicit bids, vendors quote, you negotiate or accept. You recruit, make offers, and hire workers. Contracts can be as simple as an offer and acceptance -- the essence of your trade. When does it makes sense to be in writing and when do you check with an attorney before you sign?
These tips are for business owners about Promises, Promises.
Handshake deals are valid and enforceable in Arizona. Your promise is the same as signing your name to a contract. Look out for these types of contracts which by law must be in writing in Arizona and signed (digitally or inked) to be enforced:


➢ Real estate sales
➢ Leases longer than one year
➢ Contracts taking longer than one year to complete
➢ Agreements to pay someone else’s debts
➢ Purchase, sale of goods valued at $500 or more
➢ Business loans, extensions of credit greater than $250,000
➢ Contracts lasting longer than the life of the party performing the contract


Oral contracts work fine - until they don’t. If you haven’t put the basics in writing, it is your word against theirs.
It makes sense to “get it in writing” to protect your business and the terms of the deal. This in turn helps you get paid, get what you paid for, limits your risk, and provides a remedy if the other party defaults. Written contracts are nearly always more defensible.
Don’t Sign That [yet]
Contract mistakes can cost you money, or worse, which is why we say, “don’t sign that” until you’ve checked it out. Contracts are legally enforceable documents. Just because you made a bad deal is not good enough legally to get out of it.
Watch out for red flags:


➢ Multiyear term. Change is constant. You need flexibility.
➢ No termination clause. You always need an exit plan.
➢ No obligations on the other side. You promise, you pay, but no duty to deliver.


Before signing, review these contracts with your attorney or contract specialist:


• Settlement Checks, Releases, Waivers
• Confidentiality, Nondisclosure Agreements
• Leases – Real and Personal Property
• Hold Harmless and Indemnification
• Co-signing for Another
• Non-compete Agreements • Sale of Business Assets, Interests
• Real Estate Purchases, Sales
• Signing a Contract:
• after you’ve done the work
• a vendor’s quote/proposal
• after you got the job

Texts, IMs, Emails: Beware. Even though texts, instant messaging and emails are informal, courts have found these writings can satisfy legal requirements for a contract. Arizona recognizes ‘electronic signatures.’ A printed name at the end of an email, signature block, or “from” line, can be sufficient as ‘electronic signatures’ and binding. Train your workers about their IMs, emails and texts, to be cautious when proposing prices and deal terms, and not use legal terms like “offer,” “agree” and “accept.”
After all, the devil is in the details.

*This article is general legal information. Check with a lawyer for specific advice.


About ASU Law Group
ASU Law Group is a not-for-profit law firm with the purpose of hiring recent graduates of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU, to help them become practice-ready. To accomplish this, experienced attorneys mentor associates in core competency and professionalism skills, while delivering high-quality legal services. ASU Law Group provides a wide range of legal services for small to mid-size businesses and entrepreneurs including business organization, transactions, litigation, contracts, intellectual property, employment, real estate, leases, and professional and business licenses; for clients who are attracted to forward-thinking, collaborative services.

Tags:  legal  legal advice  legal services  small business 

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What You Need to Know About the Equifax Data Breach

Posted By Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield Independent Associate, Friday, September 15, 2017

What you need to know about the Equifax Data Breach:

Equifax, Inc – a major credit bureau, announced on Thursday, 9/7/17, that a massive data breach was discovered in July, which may have exposed names, birth dates, Social Security numbers and addresses of approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. The current US population is approximately 326 million, so this data breach potentially affected 44% of Americans! In addition, a smaller amount of driver’s license numbers, credit card numbers and certain documents were obtained. The breach lasted from mid-May to July of 2017.

This is just the latest example of how, no matter how careful you are, there are forces beyond your control that can still lead to your personally identifiable information being exposed.

At IDShield, we know how stressful data breaches are, and we are here to help.  As a member, please know:

  • You have full access to our dedicated and experienced licensed private investigators to ask any questions and get help if you are worried that you are a victim of fraud.
  • You have proactive credit monitoring through Experian and will be alerted if there are any changes to their credit report.

If you are not a member of IDShield, there are still steps that you can take to provide an extra layer of security.

  • First, set up a fraud alert. This will reduce the chance of a fraudster opening a credit or loan account in your name. If you place the alert with one bureau, they will ensure its placed on the other bureaus as well. Fraud alerts last for 90 days, but can be renewed. You can search online for placing a fraud alert and select one of the main bureaus to set it up through. To sign up via Experian, use this link: https://www.experian.com/fraud/center.html. To sign up via TransUnion, use this link: https://www.transunion.com/fraud-victim-resource/place-fraud-alert.
  • Second, be diligent. Don't give out your personal information if it sounds fishy. IDShield members, if you're unsure, this is a great time to call your licensed private investigator for advice!
  • Third, change your passwords for online banking and other finance accounts. This will reduce the risk of your money or assets being moved fraudulently. As you change your password, use your IDShield Vault password manager to generate a new strong password!

And of course, if you don’t yet have IDShield, this is a great time to sign up for comprehensive identity protection and full service, white glove restoration. Visit www.idshield.com to learn more!

 

I'm here to help, so please do not hesitant to contact me!

Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield / IDShield Independent Associate, 602-367-1069

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Tags:  data breach  financial  financing  fradulent  fraud  hackers  identity protection  law  lawyer  Legal  legal advice  legal services  legalshield  lending  loans 

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America is Now Known as the Land of the Free and Home of the Hacked

Posted By Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield Independent Associate, Saturday, April 8, 2017

America is Now Known as the Land of the Free and Home of the Hacked

by David Coffey, Opinion Contributor - 3/31/17

 

Unfortunately, Americans are now familiar with identity theft, from having experienced it themselves or personally knowing a victim of this insidious crime.

The Consumer Sentinel Network, maintained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), tracks consumer fraud and identity theft complaints. Of the 3.1 million complaints received in 2015, 16 percent were related to identity theft, which represented an increase by more than 47 percent from 2014. In fact, identity theft is reported as America’s No. 7 fear — before economic collapse and right after biowarfare.

This is not at all the case in Europe. Except for the U.K., our neighbors across the Atlantic barely know about identity theft. There are a number of systemic reasons for this happier situation, and some of them should inspire our policymakers here in the U.S.

Identity theft starts with the misappropriation of a victim’s personal identifiers. I am sure that none of the readers of this article would ever write their home address or license plate number on their set of keys. Then, by the same logic, why would they be okay with having their identity’s safety rely on a single all-purpose identifier?

Just like an armored door is built with numerous reinforced key points, an identity should be protected via the combination of more than one identifier. This is common sense. Unfortunately, this is not how our system works — and the culprit is our social security numbers (SSNs).

SSNs were created in 1936 to keep track of the earnings history of U.S. workers for Social Security benefit computation purposes. Their purpose was limited. Today, SSNs have become the national identifier used by both the government and the private sector as a way to identify and gather information about an individual’s financial life.

Efforts have been undertaken to curb this expansion, from legislation such as the prohibition of displaying the SSN on driver's licenses or motor vehicle registrations, to recommendations including the President's Identity Theft Task Force asking that federal agencies reduce the unnecessary use of SSNs, which they called “the most valuable commodity for an identity thief,” and the FTC’s plea to private entities to find better ways to authenticate identities.

Despite these efforts, SSNs still reign unchallenged. An identity thief only needs to get his or her hands on the 9-digit number, which is registered in many places, to steal a person’s identity and wreak havoc in their lives, from opening fraudulent credit card accounts to filing fake tax returns and more. But in Europe, social security numbers are used for retirement benefits only. An identity thief would need a person’s national ID number, which appears in very few places, and banks often additionally require a copy of a passport or identity card to prove an identity.

Once the fraudster has gone to the trouble of acquiring these precious personal identifiers, he’ll want to make money off it. And what better way than to gain access to the victim’s bank account? In America, where the use of credit cards is largely accepted, the damage an identity thief can cause is immense, because it is not limited to the amount of money present is the victim’s bank account when the theft occurs. A huge sum of credit card debt can be amassed by a thief on a shopping spree.

Meanwhile, the majority of Europeans use debit cards, which limits the losses one would endure. What’s more, the United States is one of the last countries to still use magnetic strips which are easy to replicate and therefore more liable to identity theft. European countries use a system called EMV, which adds a security layer in the form of a PIN to credit card purchases.

Part of the shift to cards embedded with an electronic chip to greatly boost security, the PIN system was introduced in the U.S. starting in 2013, but despite the liability shift — entailing that retailers who do not buy the technology used to authenticate transactions be held accountable for any fraud that occur in their store — only 37 percent of U.S. stores now accept chip cards.

It will take some time for banks to update all of their ATMs. Besides, thieves have already found a way around it: they simply create a new bank account under the victim’s name, or make purchases online where the PIN number is not required.

At the end of the day, protecting oneself and one’s family from identity theft requires each of us to take decisive steps. Control your personal identifiers closely. Sign up for monitoring of your accounts, so you’ll get a warning of unusual activity. Finally, if your identity is stolen, be prepared to have a private investigator take the necessary steps to restore your identity to its pre-theft status.

Dave Coffey is senior vice president and chief digital officer of LegalShield, a leading provider of protection against identity theft solutions.

 

Kenyatta Turner, MM
Independent Associate | Executive Director
Business Solutions | Employee Benefits
www.kenyattaturner.com | (602) 367-1069 
 

Tags:  Employee Benefits  fradulent  fraud  identity protection  identity theft  Legal  legalshield  mobile apps 

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Prop 206 FAQ's

Posted By Kristi Feist, Payday HCM, Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) About Proposition 206

This is an unofficial publication with the intent to answer some of the FAQ’s we continue to receive on Proposition 206, and more specifically the Earned Paid Sick Time.  All information provided is herein for informational purposes only. 

What is proposition 206?

Proposition 206, the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act passed during the November 2016 election and affects all employers.  Approved by over 50% majority, it establishes the new state minimum wage (effective January 2017) and earned paid sick time requirements. 

What is earned paid sick time (EPST)?

Time accrued by an employee that is compensated at the same hourly rate and with the same benefits, including health care, as the employee would normally earn during hours worked. 

How much EPST must an employer offer?

15 or more employees - Employees must accrue a minimum of one hour of earned paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, but employees are not entitled to accrue or use more than 40 hours of earned paid sick time per year, unless the employer selects a higher limit.

Less than 15 Employees - Employees must accrue a minimum of one hour of earned paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, but they are not entitled to accrue or use more than 24 hours of earned paid sick time per year, unless the employer sets a higher limit.

What needs to be communicated to my employees about the EPST?

Employers must give employees written notice of the following at the commencement of employment or by July 1, 2017, whichever is later:

• Employees are entitled to earned paid sick time;

• The amount of earned paid sick time that employees are entitled to accrue;

• The terms of use guaranteed by Arizona’s earned paid sick time laws;

• That retaliation against employees who request or use earned paid sick time is prohibited;

• That each employee has the right to file a complaint if earned paid sick time is denied by the employer or the employee is subjected to retaliation for requesting or taking earned paid sick time; and

• Contact information for the Industrial Commission. The Industrial Commission’s 2017 model earned paid sick time notice can be found here. An employer must also provide employees either in or on an attachment to the employee’s paycheck:

• The amount of earned paid sick time available to the employee;

• The amount of earned paid sick time taken by the employee to date in the year; and

• The amount of pay time the employee has received as earned paid sick time.

Can employers have a waiting period before EPST can be used? 

An employee may use earned paid sick time as soon as it is accrued. However, an employer may require an employee hired after July 1, 2017 to wait 90 calendar days after the start of employment before using accrued earned paid sick time.

Must an employer carry forward balances of EPST at the end of a year to the next year?

Yes, unless the employer pays out any unused EPST at the end of the year and provides the employee with an amount of EPST in full as of January 1 the subsequent year. 

How does this affect my current PTO Policy?

If there is a current PTO policy in place that meets the or exceeds EPST minimum requirements the employer is not required to provide additional pto.  However, then all earned PTO can be used for the same purposes as the EPST. 

Can I ask for documentation when EPST is used?

Yes, but only if the EPST was taken on 3 or more consecutive days.  The employer cannot use EPST as an absence that may lead to an adverse action such as discipline or discharge.  

 

Have more questions?  Join us March 14th as PayDay HCM welcomes two lawyers to aide us in Navigating Proposition 206.

 

Tags:  HR  Legal  Small Business 

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Arizona Judge Dismisses More Than 1,100 ADA Cases

Posted By Trey Lynn, Ogletree Deakins, Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Arizona Judge Finds Standing Is a Must for Serial ADA Plaintiff, Dismisses More Than 1,100 Cases

Author: Caroline Larsen (Phoenix)

Published Date: February 20, 2017

An Arizona judge dismissed more than 1,100 lawsuits against Arizona businesses alleging that their parking lots are not accessible to persons with disabilities. Judge David M. Talamante rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the Arizonans with Disabilities Act (AzDA) permits any person who believes a place of public accommodation has violated the act to bring a civil action.

The court found that any plaintiff in an Arizona court must demonstrate that it has experienced injury or harm to establish standing to sue. The court further found that these plaintiffs failed to make such a showing, since they did not allege that they ever visited or attempted to visit the businesses they sued. 

In 2016, the plaintiffs filed more than 1,500 virtually identical lawsuits alleging minor, technical violations of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the AzDA, such as a lack of “van-accessible” signage or signs that are posted a few inches too low. In September of 2016, the court entered orders consolidating more than 1,100 pending cases and permitting the Arizona Attorney General’s Office to intervene as a limited purpose defendant in order to pursue dismissal of all the actions.

Prior to the February 17 oral argument, the court denied denied plaintiffs’ motion to present additional briefing in light of a bill pending in the Arizona Legislature that seeks to revise the AzDA to expressly clarify that only an aggrieved person who believes a place of public accommodation has violated the Act may bring a civil action.

Upon granting the motion to dismiss, the court directed the Attorney General to file a proposed form of judgment, along with any motion for sanctions, attorneys’ fees, and costs, within 10 days. The plaintiffs’ counsel, Peter Strojnik, asked that the final judgment be entered as soon as possible, suggesting he may pursue an appeal of the dismissal on behalf of his clients. The Arizona Court of Appeals previously denied the plaintiffs’ petition for special action review of an earlier order denying its motion to strike Judge Talamante from presiding over the cases brought by AID.

What Can Your Business Do?

While Judge Talamante’s order brings the first round of litigation to a close, the appeals process may keep the Arizona businesses affected by these lawsuits in the court system for at least another year or two. Business owners should also note that this decision will not signal the end of these kinds of lawsuits, which remain on the rise around the country. Business owners in Arizona and other states should carefully assess their physical places of business and the way they provide their services to ensure that they comply with the ADA.

Caroline Larsen  (Phoenix)

Caroline Larsen
Caroline Larsen has litigated and defended clients in a wide variety of employment matters in various venues, including Arizona state court, various district courts, the Arizona Court of Appeals, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Labor, Arizona Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice - Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer, the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH), U.S....

Tags:  attorney  law  lawyer  Legal  legal services 

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