Kentucky Law Blog

Protecting your company from fraudulent behavior

When the time comes for you to recruit and hire new talent for your business endeavors, chances are you seek individuals that demonstrate industry knowledge, enthusiasm and the types of qualities that are reflective of a hard worker. However, do you ever think to consider a new employee's ability to be loyal, honest and ethical to protect the interests, assets and successes of your organization? At Gatlin Voelker, PLLC, we are familiar with the challenges of operating a business in Northern Kentucky and are experienced with helping business owners protect their core competencies. 

According to Business Ethics, a large part of preventing fraudulent activity in your organization is to create a culture where ethical behavior is encouraged through incentives. You can educate your employees on which types of behavior are acceptable and which are not. You can create an organizational ecology where committing fraud is difficult by incorporating preventative actions into the development of your business. Here are some of the things you can do:

Industrial accident injures woman

For many Kentucky companies, a critical part of operating a smooth business is guaranteeing the proper education of its employees in regards to safety. This is even truer for organizations that rely on the use of heavy equipment, machinery and chemicals among other things, to create a product or provide a service. Unfortunately, even with the most rigorous safety guidelines in place, accidents can sometimes happen and put the lives of workers at risk. 

This was the case in a recent incident in Virginia when a female worker was injured in a workplace accident. The woman was operating a forklift in an industrial area at the Navy Exchange Service Command Distribution Center located near Kenyon Court. Investigators determined that the machine fell off of a loading dock after overturning while the woman was operating it. The length of the fall was approximately five feet. First responders had to rescue her from the forklift because she was restrained by her seatbelt. Additionally, the woman had battery acid on her body from the damaged equipment. An ambulance transported the woman to a local hospital. Investigators noted that her injuries were not considered to be life threatening. 

How can I prevent business fraud?

One key issue that entrepreneurs should take into consideration when starting their businesses is fraud liability. Fraud is when companies and employees engage in illegal behaviors for personal or corporate gain. According to Entrepruener.com, employees are the cause of most fraud incidents. As the owner of your business, you may not have a direct hand in certain operations, but it is crucial for you to keep an eye on your employees' activities. 

Without implementing measures to reduce their liability, many small businesses in the Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati area cannot absorb the financial loss that is sure to follow when fraud and unsanctioned transactions and activities occur. There are several types of fraud you should know about. In order for you to take effective measures to minimize your company's liability, review the two most common types of business fraud and how to prevent them. 

Terminating contracts for convenience

Any party that has entered into a business contract in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati knows that such agreements cannot be terminated without a valid reason, right? While that may be the case in many private agreements, public contracts with government entities are slightly different. The law often allows them a great deal of leeway when determining what sort of circumstances warrant terminating a contractual relationship

Terminating a contract without just cause is known as a termination for convenience. Such action can typically only be undertaken if a contract contains a clause allowing it. Such language does not, however, have to specify the parameters which justify a contract's termination. Kentucky's Administrative Rules point out that state agencies are allowed to end contractual agreements for convenience as long as they believe that doing so is in the best interest of the commonwealth. When the state exercises this authority, it is only entitled to pay the contractor for the services rendered as well as the costs associated with ceasing operations. 

How can you create an effective employee handbook?

If you are a new business owner in Kentucky, one of the first things you will need to create once you begin hiring employees, is an employee handbook. This valuable resource is a necessary tool for your employees so they can reference the material for information regarding conduct. It is also beneficial for you to use as you train and instruct your employees to be the kind of workers your organization needs to succeed. 

QuickBooks has shared some helpful suggestions for you as you begin to draft and compile your own employee handbook. Some of the things you should do include the following:

  • Set boundaries: Your employee handbook is an excellent place to discuss boundaries and define the types of behavior that are acceptable. If you amend or change the rules at any time, the handbook should be updated to reflect the differences.
  • Use simple language: While you may be tempted to write formally and with reference to legal jargon, doing so can cause confusion for your employees. It is best to keep your language simple and to keep your tone casual and friendly.
  • Discuss ethics: Save a portion of the handbook for discussing ethical issues. Your expectations regarding how you expect your employees to respond to critical ethical decisions is imperative to include to help your employees understand which behaviors are ethical and which are not.
  • Define digital rules: Many companies allow their employees to use their electronic devices to an extent. If you wish to set specific rules regarding the use of digital equipment, the employee handbook is a wise place to share these expectations.

Leveraging talent and leadership through succession planning

If your organizational priority is to manage a successful enterprise, chances are you have done your fair share of research to hire and train Kentucky's finest talent. With a band of committed and professional individuals backing the initiatives of your company, it is time to begin looking at succession planning. This critical aspect of running a business requires you to look carefully at the people on your team who demonstrate tenacity, enthusiasm and leadership abilities that will qualify him or her to lead others in the company. At Gatlin Voelker, PLLC, we are experienced in working with companies who are invested in their future, and we have an advanced level of understanding of the risks and challenges companies face when succession planning. 

According to American Express, if you are working on securing the success of your organization's future, there are some helpful steps you can take in your succession planning efforts. Contrary to the myth that many people believe, great leaders are not simply born. Rather, they are created over time through experiences and exposure to environments where leadership abilities are required to succeed. You can better identify the leaders in your organization by encouraging growth and learning and looking for the individuals who are proactive and committed to building the organization and facilitating its objectives.  Other things you can do include the following:

The importance of workers' compensation laws

Before we had worker's compensation laws in Kentucky, it was much more difficult for injured workers to receive any disability payments. Many times employees were forced to sue their employer to recover lost wages and medical expenses. It was difficult for the employee because the employer would claim that the risk of injury was part of the job or that the employee was somehow to blame for his or her injury.

In the rare case that an employee won the employer was often unable to pay what was owed. This caused some businesses to file bankruptcy or close their doors. This had negative ramifications for other employees who relied on their paychecks to support their families.

Why should I consider succession planning for my company?

When starting a business in Fort Mitchell, it is crucial for entrepreneurs to consider every possible situation. A business is one of the biggest assets an entrepreneur has. A carefully drafted succession plan can help prevent difficulties and legal issues that can arise with the transition of ownership due to death, disability, serious illness or retirement. 

Many business owners are focused on doing what is necessary to make their companies competitive and forget about succession planning. According to Nationwide.com, out of every five small companies, only three of them have business succession plans in place to protect them. Here are some things small company owners should consider about business succession planning. 

Which should I file for first: bankruptcy or divorce?

If you find yourself contemplating divorce and bankruptcy in Fort Mitchell, know that you are not alone. Many people find themselves in similar shoes as yours. Divorce can bring about heightened feelings of stress and frustration. These feelings can become even more difficult for you to handle if you are also experiencing so much financial difficulty that you feel bankruptcy is the answer. 

According to The Balance, filing for divorce and bankruptcy at the same time can cause delays with your divorce case. As stressful as this time may seem, it is best for you to consider the following information to help you when filing for divorce and bankruptcy. 

Determining alimony requirements during divorce

Divorcing couples in Kentucky face varying circumstances and common complexities including child custody, asset separation and alimony agreements. Often, especially in marriages where one spouse has been the designated homemaker, alimony will be awarded to provide financial assistance and security. Sometimes, the arrangement may be temporary until the non-working spouse is able to find employment. In other circumstances, it could be a long-term requirement.

According to an article released by the New York Times, many individuals who are required to pay alimony are pushing for legislation to change. They believe that the current laws are outdated and do not take into consideration the fact that in today's modern times, many marriages have two working spouses and dual incomes. As a result, these people feel that they are being wrongly required to make payments to their ex.

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Gatlin Voelker,PLLC

Gatlin Voelker, PLLC
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Fort Mitchell, KY 41017

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