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Good business means keeping costs low and earnings high to maximize profits. However, sometimes business practices can be too efficient, and workers are hurt by that efficiency.

One of those harmful business practices is on-call scheduling. New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is now investigating 13 large retailers, including Gap, Target, and Abercrombie & Fitch, for on-call shift practices that may violate the state's reporting time pay laws. The investigation comes after the office received complaints from workers who have been sent home early from shifts, told not to come in to work while already on their way to work, or who have to call in hours before their shift to see if they are scheduled to work.

Here are three things business owners should know about the law regarding on-call shifts:

If you have a business in one of 25 states with right-to-work laws, you may need to adhere to certain state labor statutes.

What is the right-to-work? Do you have to give a job to anybody who asks for it because they have a right to work?

All business owners are trying to avoid legal problems before they start. So what are the best strategies for staying in business and out of costly litigation?

As it turns out, maintaining extensive and accurate records of your business is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep your company out of legal hot water. Here are a few reasons keeping good business records is a great idea.

Gender discrimination is pervasive in the work place, even if we don't intend to perpetuate it.

In 2011, the gender pay gap was 23 percent. For every dollar a man earned, a woman in the same job earned only 77 cents. Is this because men are smarter? Is this because employers are evil and biased against women? No. Discrimination is often inadvertent and unintentional. Most employers don't design biased policies against women on purpose.

So why? How do men end up earning more than women?

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That's a phishing scam.

A phishing scam involves emails or websites that try to trick people into entering confidential information such as account usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, etc. Some phishing emails are obvious junk. They say you've won a contest for a trip to Bermuda. Some are trickier. They claim to be from Microsoft or Bank of America or the IRS. They tell you that you need to change your password immediately, or your account will be canceled.

Every year the Internet comes alive with great and horrible April Fool's Day jokes. From announcing fake products to fake deaths, these jokes can sometimes backfire.

For April Fool's this year, Tesla announced the launch of the Model W. The press release jokes that the Model W is a watch that can tell the date, is adjustable, and can "tell the time no matter where you are on Earth." Despite it being a joke, the press release caused Tesla's stock prices to jump $1.50 within the last five minutes of trading. The stock then fell back down, but in that time, many people lost money because they were duped by the joke.

A good joke will get a few laughs, but a bad joke may land you in legal hot water. Here are some ways April Fool's jokes might hurt your business:

Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1980 prohibit discrimination based upon race, gender, ethnicitiy, religion, and disabilities in places of public accommodations.

But, what is a public accommodation? Does it apply to your small business?

What is a Mechanic's Lien?

After weeks of dust, banging and clanking, and construction, you completed a brand new bathroom with a huge tub, two sinks, and heated tile floors for your customer. While the customer is luxuriating in his new comfort, he refuses to pay you!

How do you get your money? Have you considered a mechanic's lien?

Here are three things you need to know about a mechanic's lien:

The less paper the better, right? But what about when you need a customer's John Hancock or a vendor needs yours? In an e-commerce world, are e-signatures valid?

Both technology and the law are creating more instances where businesses can employ electronic signatures, so let's look at if and when your business should use them.

Is your business is located in California, Ohio, Oregon, Alaska, or one of the other earthquake prone places? Do you have earthquake insurance?

Do you really need it?

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) predicts that a 6.7 magnitude earthquake will occur every 6.3 years in California. The Northridge earthquake on January 17, 1994 was a 6.7 magnitude earthquake. It lasted 10 seconds. The quake killed 57 people, injured 9,000 people, and displaced over 125,000 people. At final count, 82,000 residential and commercial units were destroyed. It caused $20 billion in damages, and $49 billion in economic loss. Earthquake insurance claims were far greater than expected, over $12 billion.

Can you afford an earthquake without earthquake insurance?