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Mandatory Reporting

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2024 | Firm News

Many industries require periodic reporting to various individuals/government entities, which is why you should talk to a business attorney in Tulsa. The medical marijuana industry in Oklahoma, for example, requires very detailed monthly reporting obligations detailing amounts grown, sold, and discarded.

In a high school debate, I competed in an event called United States Extemporaneous Speaking. This event was very fun in my opinion. We would draw three questions from an envelope and choose one topic. We then had thirty minutes to write, memorize, and then deliver a seven-minute speech on the subject. I routinely used the same introduction and had a general idea of what most speeches would look like. I usually spent about 5 to 10 minutes writing them and then 20 minutes rehearsing them. “Wall talkers” is what we were called as we routinely stared at a wall delivering a rehearsed speech. One element of every speech my coach told me to include was a brief blip of what he called, “the importance.” Why does this matter to you? Many of you may think that compliance with governmental/industrial regulations is for the straight-laced type and that’s just not your style. Think again. While a one-time violation may only land you in some lukewarm water in that of a small fine or penalty, routine violations can result in forfeiture of a license, massive financial penalties, and even criminal exposure. If your industry requires reports, prepare them with a business attorney Tulsa. It could be the thing that ultimately saves your life.

If your industry requires detailed reporting obligations, what are some of the methods and mechanisms you can deploy to ensure your reports are spot on? Here are a few ideas.

First, have a plan in place to prepare and store information. Before I was a business attorney in Tulsa, I used to work at Applebee’s when I was in college. I remember as a host one of my obligations was to clean the bathrooms. Those bathrooms were filthy by the way. I remember we had a clipboard outside the door we had to sign, initial, and record the time for when the bathrooms were cleaned so the guests, management, and health department knew what was going on. I would have a paper form that records the information. Then, at the conclusion of the shift, take the paper form and scan it into a computer. File the form and ensure that the data on your server is backed up properly. I would also have a copy to the computer you use to scan the document. This triple-layer protection (paper, copy on the computer, copy on server) ensures that the data will not be lost or altered.

Second, have routine meetings and communicate the importance of this data preservation system to your employees. Most companies have a Safety Director or someone who is in charge of making sure nobody gets hurt. Whoever the person is in charge of keeping everyone safe, make sure that person stresses the importance of written forms. I would even include examples of other companies that fail to comply and show what happens to them. While fear is not the kindest motivator, it is undeniably effective. Scaring your employees with examples of what could happen to them is one way to substantially increase compliance.

Third, make sure you lead by example with data preservation. The person an employee hates most is a boss who makes you do A but takes shortcuts to do B instead. If you are going to require your employees to participate in a detailed data preservation routine, you need to make sure you participate as well and discuss it with an business attorney Tulsa. It is often said that no one person is above the law. I believe this to be true, and I believe it to be true for everyone. In fact, it is likely most important that you set the example as all your employees will be looking to you for leadership and guidance.

Fourth, conduct random audits of the system to ensure compliance. Once a quarter, I would suggest conducting a random audit of your system to ensure that everyone is complying. Do not let anyone know, except your business attorney Tulsa, when you are going to do this to ensure that it is a complete surprise. Record the results and have them at your next safety meeting.

Fifth, offer some type of financial prize for perfect compliance. Maybe every person in the department gets a Starbucks gift card, or maybe even a monetary bonus. Whatever the prize, make sure it is something strong enough to motivate a group of people to comply. Having a financial incentive to comply above and beyond a person’s salary will provide you with the most powerful ally of all: self-policing. Having your employees policing your policies is worth its weight in gold. You cannot be everywhere at once. Inevitably, your business will need to run with you not around. Work with a business attorney Tulsa to make sure that when you are not around, the employees are behaving.

Let me close with a quick example. I once worked at a law firm where the partners would sometimes leave on a Friday afternoon for various reasons. Maybe it was the golf course, maybe it was a personal errand, or maybe they just didn’t want to be there. Whatever the reason, one beautiful afternoon the stars aligned perfectly and the partners all left. Admittedly, that was nice as we could relax a little. Two employees took advantage of this. From 3:00 to 5:00, they sat upfront on the couches reading magazines and talking. Everyone else was working; they weren’t. I never complained about those two, but it always made me think about what happens when the boss leaves with no incentive for anyone to act as police.

If you have mandatory reporting obligations but lack the time and resources to complete them, consider the RC Law Group. As you can tell from this site, writing is an activity I engage in daily and am happy to prepare the proper reports for your company to ensure compliance and avoid any type of penalties, civil or otherwise. Remember, the initial consultation is free and it never hurts to call.