As a lawyer to businesses of all sizes, I get lots of questions. But I remain surprised that many people are not aware of some of the great free online resources that are available to businesses that can make their lives easier.
Much of it is due to the overwhelming nature of the Internet. It’s hard to know what is even out there.
But rather than keep things secret, here are five online resources to get you going.
- Wage & hour laws are confusing. Very confusing. What is minimum wage? Who gets overtime? What jobs can teens work in? The Connecticut Department of Labor’s Wage & Workplace Standards division, however, has an online book that answers all of these questions and more. And its free.
- If your company doesn’t yet have a social media policy, you’re behind the times. Fortunately, the Compliance Building blog has a list of 240 sample policies for you to take a look at. But here’s one more secret, a few weeks ago, the National Labor Relations Board issued some guidance that found issues with policies at several companies. They did, however, bless one from Wal-Mart. So if you want a government-blessed policy that’s fairly safe, you can download that one here.
- Librarians are reinventing themselves for the 21st century. The Connecticut Judicial Branch is no exception and its librarians have a number of great resources available to learn and keep up with the legal system. Want Connecticut resources? Check here. Want info on unemployment compensation? Check here. (And the CTDOL has another “employer’s guide” to unemployment compensation laws here too.)
- Sample or form agreements are often touted by DIY legal websites like Legalzoom.com. But there are lots of websites that compile publicly-available contacts and employment agreements that have been filed with the government already. One site, called Onecle.com, has over 5000 actual employment agreements including those used by Facebook for its employees. (Of course, the usual caveat applies: this should not be a substitute for competent legal advice.) But if you want to checkout the work that lawfirms have done in crafting agreements, you could do a lot worse than look at some of these filings.
- And for something a little different, check out Morguefile.com. It provides free stock photos for companies to use without a license. You can use them for your website, newsletter or even your blog. And did I mention it’s free? (The Library of Congress has also posted TONS of great older photos that are in the public domain too. I love using those photos when I’m able — as I can do here.)
Bonus Resource: The Office of Legislative Research from the Connecticut General Assembly. Trust me on this one.
What’s your favorite business or legal-related site? Post them in the comments below so we can all learn something.
(A version of this post was initially published over at the Avon Patch.)