Legal Basics For Dummies
So, you have a degree in business, or biology, or whatever it was that held your attention for four years. But life isn’t just about business or biology. At every turn, there are legal ramifications to what you’re doing or contemplating. To be a functional adult in today’s world, we all have to at least know some legal basics.
But unless you were on a pre-law track, you probably had little or no legal education. We can’t fix that here. You may know that following an auto accident it’s a good idea to call a legal professional. But what about your employment? Or the rest of your daily activities?
Based on the most common activities in modern everyday life, here are some quick legal basics that are worth remembering.
Did you know that in most cases your employment is “at will?” That means either you or your employer can terminate your employment without cause. And without advance notice. Exceptions to that are sometimes found in local law, or your employment or labor contract, if you have one. Those may provide for notice or create other limitations. It can get complicated, and whether the termination is with or without cause (a legitimate reason) might be a question for professional legal advice.
We’re all on it every day. Sometimes for many hours. It’s all public domain for your free use, right? WRONG. Copying protected material may result in an unwelcome phone call or letter. At best, you’ll be asked to remove the offending material. At worst, you’ll be dragged into court and be potential liable for many thousands of dollars of “damages” to the copyright owner.
Just because it’s online doesn’t mean you have a right to copy, download, or use it. You should be aware of copyright restrictions, which vary greatly. And remember that today’s technology allows copyright owners and their agents to search and find infringing material even if the material has been significantly altered, appended, or modified. When in doubt, ask.
In a nutshell, you’re always liable for what you do and what you cause. That doesn’t mean you have to live your life in hiding. It does mean that being aware of your actions and choices is important. A simple reminder might be to ask yourself – “How would I feel about this if I were the other person?”
To that add a little common sense, and you’re likely to avoid most of life’s legal pitfalls.