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Thread: Where do my legal responsibilities end and begin?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Where do my legal responsibilities end and begin?

    My client owns a transportation company searching for new employees. He would like me to build an online job application webpage with fields to fill in and submit. He would also like permission from the potential candidates to do a background check and look at their past driving record.

    Hereís the problem, he is looking to me to give him legal advice as to what you can and canít do (regarding job applications) over the internet in the US and the state of Iowa.

    I advised him I would look into it but my efforts are in vein. I would need to pay for legal council to find out what I can and canít do. Plus I think it is not responsible for him to rely on his web designer for legal advice.

    Anyone have any thoughts or advice on this? Where do my responsibilities end and begin? How should I handle this?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    I would handle it pretty much the same way as if he'd asked you to also build a new deck on his house. You'd decide if you wanted to hire a contractor to build him a deck, and maybe take a "management fee" to do it, and move forward from there. There isn't any "responsibility" to do it unless you agree that you will do it.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by MGuise View Post
    Anyone have any thoughts or advice on this? Where do my responsibilities end and begin? How should I handle this?
    I wouldn't even proxy legal advice. If you have some understanding of law X, feel free to offer your interpretation, but always stress the facts that you're not their attorney, it's their responsibility to hire an attorney, and it's their a$$ on the line if they're sued -- make it clear that you hold no responsibility, so long as the application meets their specifications.

    Don't give them the opportunity to drag you into the realm of legal or financial responsibility by offering or proxying legal advice.
    Jon Wire

    thepointless.com | rounded corner generator

    I agree with Apple. Flash is just terrible.

    Use CODE tags!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Just keeping saying, 'I'm not sure what I'm allowed to do, a lawyer would know...'

    Just say that over and over again whenever he asks you a legal question, he'll eventually get the picture. If he doesn't and keeps asking you, then stick to the mantra above.
    I've switched careers...
    I'm NO LONGER a scientist,
    but now a web developer...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    1. your client is asking you to develop an on-line form that uses a VERY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM to deliver information from client to server, so you need HTTPS servers to ensure some degree of security.

    2. your client is asking to store some sensitive information on a server that despite having some form of physical security in a server farm, still is not secure as in a server at a data center.

    3. your clients legal requirements are that he / she seeks council on this information, if you give legal guidance as a non trained person, your liable for any losses that your client makes from your bad advise.

    4. if he persists, let him eat answerphone and move on to the next client.

    5. if this is your dad asking you this stuff, tell him he should know better and your telling mom of him.

    Does that sum it up? You have to watch your own rear these days because someone wants a piece of it and not in a nice way either.
    We all have baggage to carry in life, unfortunately for me I always get the trolley with the wonky wheel...
    Youre = {
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                alert("You're missing the point. " + msg);

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