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Minutes: The One with the Warnings for Business Owners (02/01/2012)

February 2, 2012

Daddy Graham Gets Double Surprise From KarenPresident Joe Weiland called the meeting to order.

Greeters:  Liz Werhane, David Vo
Invocation:  Joanne Schoenfeld
Pledge: Bill Wilmer
Raffle:  Jerry Smith brought sweets and wine for Valentine’s Day

Visiting Rotarians:  None
Guests:  Jon Light

Club and President’s Announcements:

  • May 21 Golf Tournament: A packet is being put together and will be sent to all club members.  A draft letter will be sent to club members to send on to others.  Ask people to play golf, and ask for donations. They’re seeking a major sponsor.
  • Next week Chief of Police Cam Sanchez is coming to speak. If anyone has questions, he would like to know prior to the meeting. Questions can be submitted through Joanne.
  • The fireside chat was a fun evening. It began with a conversation with Fary, a Rotarian who has spent many years in Afghanistan.
  • Dictionary Project. Help label the dictionaries next Monday, February 6, at 5:30 PM at Brown and Brown Insurance near the Santa Barbara Club. Contact Julie Joy Stilwell with questions.
  • STEPS Conference: There were inspirational speakers. In the future, the Rotary Foundation will be distributing funds based on new criteria that focuses on empowering people. Program areas will be health, education, micro lending, peace and conflict resolution, and community development.
  • Mexico Project. The hands-on project will be the week of April 23.
  • Lunch Lottery: Chris Tucker and Karin Napel are the next match selected for lunch.
  • Graham Guess thanked the club members for well wishes on the birth of his daughter, Lulu.  The club collected $271.  The expectation is that Graham and Zoe double it, grandparents are supposed to double it, and report back to us on how much they collected.  It is intended to be the beginning of a college fund.

Program: Jon Light presents “Legal and business pitfalls that can decrease your bottom line and your blood pressure.”

  • Jon shared a handout outlining a few things business owners should know in regard to employment law and protecting their business. Here are some highlights.
  • Arbitration agreements ensure that employees can’t go to a court and jury if they want to go after you. Instead they agree to go to an arbitrator. Get the agreement signed before hiring the person. Once people are already employed, you can’t force them to sign one, but you can incentivize them — with a bonus vacation day, for example. Include it in employee handbook, too.
  • People do steal. Protect yourself. Have checks in place.
  • Consider having a lawyer review your existing terms and conditions, confidentiality agreements, trademarks,  etc. Don’t forget that you have to prove you’re making an effort to protect your intellectual property — data stored safely, marked confidential, etc.
  • Performance reviews should be meatier, more specific and include examples. These documents can be used if you’re sued.
  • “It’s not working out” is his least favorite phrase in employment law.
  • There are many new employee laws in 2012. Learn them.
  • Beware absolutes in policies. Examples: Don’t ever use computers for personal use. You will be reviewed on your 90th day.
  • Salary doesn’t mean there’s no such thing as overtime, so make sure you know who’s exempt and who’s not. California law states that the exempt qualification applies if doing exempt work at least 50% time.
  • Consider a mini 360 review. Ask your employees two questions: What am I doing that helps you? What am I doing that gets in your way?
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