Are You Collecting Biometrics From Your Texas Employees?

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texas employee biometrics fingerprint scanIf you’re collecting Texas employee biometrics, be sure to comply with the state’s biometrics privacy law.

Types Of Texas Employee Biometrics Data Covered

  1. fingerprint;
  2. retina or iris scan;
  3. voiceprint; and
  4. record of hand or face geometry.

For now, the most common of these is fingerprint scans. Although as the price of biometric tech drops, you’ll see more of the other types of data collected too.

Fortunately, Texas’ biometric law isn’t as strict as the Illinois statute. For example, Facebook is being sued in a class action for $35 billion for allegedly violating Illinois’ biometric privacy law.

State Attorney General Enforcement

In contrast, Texas doesn’t allow employees to bring a civil suit against an employer for violating the state’s biometric privacy statute. Only the Texas Attorney General has the right to enforce the law against employers (and others).

However, if an enforcement action is brought by the state, there can be a pretty hefty penalty of $25,000 per violation. Arguably each employee’s data would constitute a separate violation. That can add up quickly.

Fix Your Employment Agreements

So, if you’re collecting employee biometrics (or workers based elsewhere who are covered by Texas law), you’ll want to make sure an experienced business contracts lawyer addresses the state’s biometrics law in your employment agreements and/or other employee-related documents.

Texas Health Spa Act Security Exemptions

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texas health spa act security exemptionsMany gym owners in the Lone Star State have to post security with the Secretary of State because of the state’s Health Spa Act. It’s common to post a $20K to $50K surety bond to meet this security requirement. However, there are two Texas Health Spa Act security exemptions that could save you money.

1. Short-Term Contract & Small Payment Exemption

You may be eligible for this exemption if…

A. Your gym contracts are 31 days or less in length;
B. Members don’t sign a note or retail installment agreement;
C. Members don’t authorize you to repeatedly draw membership fees from their bank accounts;
D. You don’t require members to pay initiation fees; and
E. Members prepay for 31 days or less.

This exemption is rare because most Texas gym business models do not fit these criteria.

2. Financially Stable Gym Exemption

You may be eligible for this exemption if…

A. Your gym has $50,000 or more in assets;
B. Your gym has been in business for at least five years without changing ownership/management; and
C. A member hasn’t filed a complaint with the state government that alleges you closed a gym or failed to open a gym.

This exemption is common for Texas gyms that have been in business for five years or more.

Do You Qualify For Texas Health Spa Act Security Exemptions?

If you need help obtaining a security exemption or other compliance with the Texas Health Spa Act, set up a phone consultation with Texas Business Lawyer Mike Young.

Need A Texas Lawyer For A Business Startup?

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lawyer for a business startupWhen you’re planning to set up a new venture in Texas, one of the first tasks is selecting the right lawyer for a business startup.

This begs the question: how do you choose the right business lawyer for your new company?

Eliminate Unqualified Lawyers

It’s fairly easy to get winnow the field of potential attorneys by eliminating from consideration any that practice areas of law unrelated to your venture.

For example, criminal defense attorneys and personal injury lawyers are not particularly suited for representing clients in business transactions.

Even worse is the attorney who claims to practice a half dozen unrelated areas of law because that “professional” is a jack of all trades and a master of none. At best, you’ll get mediocre representation.

You may also want to exclude novice attorneys. While a recent law school graduate may seem eager to help you, you’ll be paying for the lack of real-world knowledge and experience — in time, money, and the quality of advice you receive.

Additional Factors To Consider When Retaining Business Legal Counsel

Once you’ve eliminated the above prospects from consideration, it’s time to narrow the field further.

When looking at business attorneys, consider what type of commercial law they practice. For example, if you plan to spend a lot of time in lawsuits – as either a plaintiff or defendant – then a business litigator should be considered. Trial lawyers who understand business law will be invaluable in protecting your interests if your startup is in court frequently.

However, most Texas new ventures need an experienced transactional lawyer…an attorney who will set up the right type of entity to protect your interests, give you legal advice as-needed, and prepare the contracts you’ll need to conduct business with suppliers, customers, etc.

Related Article – 7 Keys To Picking The Right Internet Lawyer For Your Business

Of course, because of the importance of e-commerce, you should consider the attorney’s experience in representing companies both offline and online. A new attorney may be tech savvy but lack the legal knowledge. On the other hand, a business lawyer who has been practicing 50 years has a wealth of experience but probably knows very little about e-commerce law.

What’s The Next Step In Finding A Texas Lawyer For A Business Startup?

Take a look at Texas Business Lawyer Mike Young’s bio. Then, if you want to see if he’s a good fit for representing your company, click here to use our online booking system or call 214-546-4247 today to set up a phone consultation with him.

4 Secrets To Effective Search Engine Marketing Agreements

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search engine marketing agreements lead generationMore than 80% of shoppers do their research online before deciding which business to work with. As a business owner, you know you need to take advantage of search engine marketing (SEM) for lead generation so that potential clients can discover your business. A solid SEM strategy can help clients find you and can set you apart from your competitors. However, this type of marketing is complex and requires specialized knowledge. Rather than wasting hours learning and tweaking your own SEM strategy, it’s a wise business decision to outsource this important task to industry experts. This is where Search Engine Marketing Agreements become a necessity.

Like other business agreements, a written SEM contract is important for protecting your legal rights while reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings that lead to nonperformance and breach of contract. Here are four things you should know about SEM agreements before you start negotiating with a SEM agency.

1. Don’t assume free online templates will work for you

Internet Business Lawyer Mike Young has worked with numerous online businesses over the past 25 years and seen countless contract mistakes. One of the biggest and most common mistakes business owners make is using a free contract template found online. Because many free templates are not written by an experienced Internet attorney,they fail to address important topics that leave your business at risk. Even worse, none of the free templates you find online are written in your favor, based on your specific needs.

2. Don’t borrow someone else’s agreement

Another common mistake is to copy and paste someone else’s search engine marketing agreement you’ve found online. If you have not been given explicit permission to copy someone else’s contract, you may be committing intellectual property theft. Also, while contracts may look similar to the untrained eye, all contracts vary according to a party’s specific needs. Every contract is (and should be) unique. When you use someone else’s agreement, you’re using a contract that made sense for them, but that does not mean the contract will work for you or your business. The description of services, payment terms, intellectual property ownership, and warranties will vary in virtually every contract. Simply copying and pasting someone else’s agreement will not ensure that your business is protected from risks or that your expectations will be met.

3. Don’t forget the basics

There are some basic provisions you will want to include in every search engine marketing contract. You want to make sure you identify both parties to the agreement plus their contact information. You want to define the term (length) of the contract and whether any renewals will occur automatically. The services being provided should be described in detail along with the payment terms. You will also want a contract that clearly outlines how and when the agreement can be terminated for non-performance or other disputes.

4. Protect yourself from special risks

Marketing content and strategy are both considered intellectual property. It is important to address who owns the intellectual property created as a result of your search engine marketing agreement. The agency you choose to work with will likely want to maintain some form of ownership over their work product, but you may want to ensure you have a right to re-use certain marketing phrases if you decide to switch to another SEM provider. You’ll also want to ask if your SEM agency will be using any subcontractors or relying on any third-party services and discuss what will happen if their subcontractor or third parties make a mistake. Their answers to these questions should be committed to writing in your SEM contract to protect you in the event a dispute arises.

Likewise, you will want to include a dispute resolution clause that details how you will handle any disagreements (will you arbitrate or mediate before going to court?) and where you will handle any disputes and what laws will apply (preferably the laws of your state). Also, address warranties if your SEM agency plans on guaranteeing any results (be wary of guarantees if the agency does not want to confirm their promises in writing).

Lastly, determine who will be liable for the work product, especially in the case of intellectual property theft or infringement-you definitely don’t want to be held liable if your SEM provider uses someone else’s intellectual property.

As you can see, your SEM contract should be unique and tailored to your specific needs. While there are a number of clauses all SEM agreements should include, the terms of those clauses will vary according to your needs and expectations.

Do You Need Help With Search Engine Marketing Agreements?

An experienced business contracts lawyer can prepare a customized SEM contract template for you to use on one or more SEM projects. You can get an SEM agreement prepared by Attorney Young for a flat fee as part of our firm’s Business Contract Legal Protection Package.

Does Your Texas Gym Collect Member Biometrics?

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texas gym member biometrics collectionDo you own a fitness center in the Lone Star State? Then you’ll want to know about state law protecting Texas gym member biometrics.

4 Biometric Identifiers

There are four types of biometric data protected by Texas law:

(1) fingerprint;
(2) retina or iris scan;
(3) voiceprint; and
(4) record of hand or face geometry.

3 Popular Texas Gym Member Biometrics Uses

Some Texas fitness facilities are using biometrics for one or more of these member services:

(1) providing late night access to the gym when there aren’t employees working;
(2) tracking member location and fitness activities; and
(3) enabling members to easily make purchases of clothing, sports drinks, etc.

How Does State Law Protect Texas Gym Member Biometrics?

Texas law requires gym owners to notify members that biometric identifiers will be collected/used and obtain member consent to do so. The data must be kept confidential, cannot be sold to third parties, and has to be promptly destroyed when it’s no longer needed (e.g. membership ends).

Related Article – 7 Things You Must Include In A Texas Gym Membership Contract

What About Gym Employees and Non-Member Guests?

The Texas biometrics law also covers collection and use of employee and guest data too. However, it’s relatively rare that fitness centers collect biometric identifiers from guests.

Related Article – Does A Texas Martial Arts Studio Have To Comply With The Health Spa Act?

Do You Need Legal Help?

Of course, in addition to state biometrics laws, there’s also the Texas Health Spa Act that gym owners have to be concerned about.

If you own a Texas gym and need help with your membership agreements, waivers, or releases, set up a phone consultation with Business Lawyer Mike Young today.