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4 Legal Compliance Items For The New Year

One of the most important roles of a business attorney is thinking about risk avoidance, with a goal that if bad things happen to your company, they aren’t as bad as they could have been. As we start a new year, here are four legal issues to double-check and update before something happens.

File Your State of Michigan Annual Statement

If your business is registered as a corporation or LLC with the state of Michigan, you are required to pay an annual filing fee to keep the company in good standing. A few weeks ago, the state implemented a new online filing system, which requires a unique PIN number the state snail-mailed to the registered office of every business in Michigan. The new system has caused a lot of confusion and delays on all sides, so make sure you have the required information to file this year. More information can be found here.

Review Your Employee Handbook

I recommend only having an employee handbook if you commit to keeping it updated — not just gathering dust on the shelf. The potential problem with an employee handbook is that everyone forgets it exists until something goes wrong. At that point, it gets pulled out and you realize the actual practices of your company haven’t matched what the employees signed. The start of a new year is a great time to pull out the employee handbook and make sure you are uniformly following what it says for all employees.

Update Your Insurance Coverages

You should annually review your insurance coverages and limits with your insurance agent, especially paying attention to the following questions: Do the salary disclosures in my worker’s comp policy still match payroll? Do I need to have cyber security insurance, and what does it actually cover? Do I need to increase the limit on my general liability policy? (Hint: $5 million coverage is not uncommon anymore, especially if you own a retail store.)

Make Sure Your Website Is ADA Compliant

There has been a rash of recent lawsuits related to websites that are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, because they include elements and features that are not readable. There also is a lot of confusion surrounding the lawsuits because the federal government has been very slow to issue final regulations that tell you exactly how to make your website ADA compliant. Until final regulations are issued, we highly recommend you ask your website developer if they follow best practices for ADA compliance.

This article originally appeared on the Grand Rapids Business Journal's Law Blog.