How you can make your online job applications better

 

Restaurants, retail, and countless industries now use online job applications.  But did you ever wonder if online applications are hindering the recruiting and hiring process?    A national survey conducted by PEAT found just that.

PEAT stands for Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology. It is a multi-faceted initiative promoting the employment, retention, and career advancement of people with disabilities funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy and is managed by the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America [RESNA].

The Survey found that almost half of the respondents had issues:  46% of survey respondents rated their last experience of applying for a job online as 'difficult to impossible. ‘ 

online app

You may think yea, if you have vision issues, the online hiring process can be hard.  But, others experiencing difficulties had a plethora of issues.  The survey asked and identified persons that were or had:

  • blind or visually impaired
  • deaf or hard of hearing
  • physical and/or motor disabilities
  • cognitive and/or intellectual disabilities
  • do not wish to self-identify

So what about online recruiting is problematic for applicants?  Here is a list:

Test screening tools such as typing tests or personality tests were found to have:

  • Complex navigation;
  • Timeout restrictions;
  • Poor screen contrast;
  • Confusing, poorly written and inconsistent instructions;
  • Questionnaires that rely on color, graphics, or text embedded with graphics to convey directions or important information;
  • Images that convey information, but do not have alternative text that can be read by screen readers;
  • Videos or audio instructions that are not closed captioned;
  • Forms that were not compatible with assistive technology, such as screen readers; and
  • Forms that did not allow users to input information with a keyboard instead of a mouse.

For the job applications themselves, respondents reported:

  • Complex navigation;
  • Timeout restrictions;
  • Poor screen contrast;
  • Confusing, poorly written and inconsistent instructions;
  • Fields that did not state an accepted format [such as date fields] and fields that were mislabeled or not labeled at all, rendering them inaccessible;
  • Applications and questionnaires that relied on color, graphics, or text embedded with graphics to convey directions or important information;
  • Images that conveyed information, but did not have alternative text for individuals using screen readers;
  • Applications that could not be navigated with keystrokes and required mouse input;
  • Applications that had to be signed using a mouse;
  • Videos or audio instructions that were not closed captioned;
  • Inaccessible “CAPTCHAs“ [a type of “challenge-response” test used in computing to determine whether or not the user is human] with no audio option;
  • Trouble uploading the necessary documents;
  • No notice about use of pop-up windows, which are blocked by most browsers in many settings, such as libraries and employment centers;
  • Lack of contact information for technical support; and
  • Lack of information on how to request an accommodation.

And don’t forget mobile access.

56% of respondents look for jobs using their smart phone and 28% of respondent applied for jobs using their smart phone or tablets.  They  reported:

  • Job applications that are too long and complex to complete on a mobile device;
  • Timeout restrictions;
  • Poor screen contrast;
  • Difficulty typing in all of the fields;
  • Small print;
  • Following link to a webpage that is not mobile friendly;
  • Problems with pages loading [connectivity issues]; and
  • Difficulty uploading documents.

    infographic from PEAT
    infographic from PEAT

The national survey clearly shows there is a problem.  Don’t fret.  PEAT has a solution.  The have developed an eRecuriting Tools.  http://peatworks.org/talentworks.  It will contain a bank of publicly submitted resources, and tales of success stories.

Remember, the issue of disability discrimination is not just on the job situations.  Disability discrimination during the hiring process should also be a prime concern.

 

Have an issue or problems arise?  Give us a call or drop and us an email.

Why Trademarks Should Only Be Used as Adjectives

shiny metal registered trademark sign - silver/chrome style - low camera angle
shiny metal registered trademark sign - silver/chrome style - low camera angle

Last week I attended a Continuing Learning Education presentation at the Northern Kentucky Chase College of Law. One of the presenters, Alan Datri, resident of the Memphis Bioworks Foundation and former senior consultant with the World Intelligent Property Organization [WIPO], made a thought provoking statement.

 

 

He said: Trademarks should only be used as adjectives.

 

 

Think about that. According to Wikipedia, an adjective is a describing word, the main syntactic role of which is to qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adjective

 

The reservation of trademarks as only an adjectives prevents the trademark from becoming generic. Here is what the Trademark Examining Manual of Procedures says about Generic Terms. http://tmep.uspto.gov/RDMS/detail/manual/TMEP/Oct2012/TMEP-1200d1e6993.xml

 

1209.01(c) Generic Terms
Generic terms are terms that the relevant purchasing public understands primarily as the common or class name for the goods or services. In re Dial-A-Mattress Operating Corp., 240 F.3d 1341, 57 USPQ2d 1807, 1811 (Fed. Cir. 2001); In re Am. Fertility Soc'y, 188 F.3d 1341, 1346, 51 USPQ2d 1832, 1836 (Fed. Cir. 1999). These terms are incapable of functioning as registrable trademarks denoting source, and are not registrable on the Principal Register under §2(f) or on the Supplemental Register.
When a mark is comprised entirely of generic wording and some or all of the wording in the mark is the phonetic equivalent of the generic wording, the entire mark may not be disclaimed, even in the proper spelling, and approved for registration on the Supplemental Register. The disclaimer does not render an otherwise unregistrable generic mark registrable. See TMEP §§1213.06 and 1213.08(c).

The essence of the trademarks is that they are unique and they associated with a specific manufacturer or provider of the goods or services. Hence, when we hear ‘Just Do It’ we think of Nike, and when we hear iPhone we think of Apple. The tagline and product name is unique and we immediately identify the manufacturer.
Wikipedia site the following former trademarks as being generic. Aspirin, heroin, and thermos. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generic_trademark. Now, I am not going to expand on heroin, but let’s look at one of the other terms. ‘Take some aspirin for your headache.’ In that sentence, the word aspirin is used as noun. It does not actually mean the brand aspirin. Now let’s switch it up a bit. ‘Take some Bayer aspirin for your headache. ‘ The word Bayer is an adjective in the sentence and it references to the brand manufacturer Bayer. The use of the word Bayer as an adjective rather that than a noun, protects the trademark from being used as a generic term for all aspirins. It sounds knit picky, but think about it. It is a brilliantly simplistic way to protect a trademark from becoming generic.

 

Once a trademark is generic it cannot be protected. It has no uniqueness. It no longer references to the manufacturer or provider. It can lose its registration with USPTO. So, think about it. And, think about how you use your trademark!

 

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FAQ: Malware and Virus

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As part HIPAA compliance and health care records security, you want to protect your computers and other devises against viruses and malware.  However, you may ask yourself what are virus?  What is malware?  And, what is the difference? Here some basic answers.

What is the difference between a virus and malware?  A virus is actually a type of malware.  Viruses and all other types of malware can replicate, spread automatically, and compromise and harm your computer.  In addition to viruses, malware include trojans, spyware, adwords, worms, and many others. 

 

 Do you need both anti-virus and anti-malware software?   Yes.  You need both.  Look at anti-virus software as a multi-vitamin and anti-malware as a vitamin C booster.  In the world of computers there it is always a flu and cold season, so a boost of the vitamin C from anti-malware software is always essential. 

 

What anti-virus and anti-malware software is available? Here is a list of common anti-virus and anti-malware software available. 

 

 

Anti-virus

Anti-malware

Norton  Anti-virus

Malware Bytes

AVG

Spybot

McAfee

Hijack This

Avast

There is No Conspiring with a Squatter

Image credit: alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo
Image credit: alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo

The internet is the new Wild West. Courts have repeatedly refused to enter into the fray of arbitrating disputes involving the internet. If entities secure a URL address or domain name using your name, you may be left without a remedy. This situation happens in franchising. Either third party entities or even franchisees within the system register or secure a URL using the name of the franchisor or franchise system. Franchisors are often left without recourse; powerless to take down the URL.

Listen to one novel approach taken by a business attempting to protect its name and presence on the internet. Petroleum National Berhad, an oil company based in Malaysia and owner of the Petronas trademark, sued Godaddy.com, Inc. for contributory cybersquatting based upon a third party’s use of the Godaddy.com’s domain forwarding service. Godaddy.com’s domain forwarding services allows registrant of a URL or domain name to automatically and seamlessly forward internet traffic from one domain website to another website. In this case a third party registrant owner of the domain “petronastower.net” and “petronastowers.net” employed Godaddy.com’s domain forwarding services to forward traffic to “camfunchat.com,” an adult website.

Both the US government and the Malysian government contacted Godaddy.com on behalf of Petroleum National Berhad. To no avail, Godaddy.com refused to take action against the third party owner of “petronastower.net.” The stance case of PETRONAS V. GODADDY.COM ensued. Court action like the governments’ efforts, however, proved unsuccessful. The court in the case held there is no such thing as contributory cybersquatting. The law simply does not provide for a contributory claim under the cybersquatting laws. So for now [I have not confirmed this] all internet traffic to “petronastower.net” shall continued to be forward to the adult website, “camfunchat.com.”

Note, however, the court’s decision in this case is not universal. Courts in other cases have upheld a cause of action for contributory cybersquatting, including a case in California involving Verizon, a case in Washington involving Microsoft and a case in Michigan involving Ford Motor Company.

So what should franchisors do? Here are 3 suggestions:

1. Google your franchise system name often to see if your name is being used. Consider setting up Google alert that will tell you when your name is being used.

2. Include a provision in your franchise agreement that franchisees are not permitted to register or establish a URL address or domain name using the franchise name and enforce this prohibition.

3. Address trademark issues when they arise. Allowing time to pass without addressing issues will result in diminished enforceability.

 

 

 

 

Malware Attack Results in a Huge HIPAA Breach

bigstock-Isolated-Hand-Holding-Tablet-43568956 “I opened it up and I read this and just got furious. I don’t have words for it right now.” That is what one patient of UW Medicine and Haborview Medical Center told KomoNews.com in regards to receiving notice that her medical records had fallen victim to a malware attack.

Pursuant to the HIPAA Rules, patients must be notified if a breach occurs, which affects their medical records. The HIPAA Rules defines a breach as “an impermissible use or disclosure under the Privacy Rule that compromises the security or privacy of the protected health information such that the use or disclosure poses a significant risk of financial, reputational, or other harm to the affected individual.

Listen to the video to learn more about HIPAA breach notification requirements:

The reported malware attack occurred when an UW Medicine and Haborview Medical Center employee opened an email attachment that contained a malware. The malware took over the employee’s computer that contained patient information including patients’ names, dates of birth, home address, phone numbers, dates of service, medical records numbers and social security numbers. The reported breach affected 90,000 patient records.

Microsoft’s Safety & Security Center defines malware as “any kind of unwanted software that is installed without consent.”

Malware can replicate, spread automatically, and compromise and harm your computer. In addition to viruses, malware includes trojans, spyware, adwords, worms, and many others.

Stay posted. Look for our upcoming blog regarding Malware and Virus FAQs.

 

 

Franchise Brokers-A Referral Source outside the System

A keyboard with a key reading franchise - business concept

Recently on our blog we completed a series based on the Franchise and Business Opportunity Project of the North American Security Administrators Association, Inc. [NASAA] purposed Multi-Unit Commentary [“Commentary”]. The goal of the commentary was to provide conformity and uniformity with the ever growing presence of the multi-unit arrangements within the franchise industry.

While franchise brokers are not within the scope of the Commentary, the Commentary does provide an aside regarding Franchise Brokers. Franchise Brokers are included in the substance of the Commentary because, in the words of the Commentary, Franchise Brokers do not sign a franchise agreement. As also noted Franchise Brokers are not employees of the Franchisor. They are independent sales agents. A Franchise Broker may solicit prospective franchisees for one franchisor, but most typically a Franchise Broker solicits a portfolio of franchise opportunities.

A Franchise Broker is dissimilar from a subfranchise and area representative in that the Franchise Broker does not pay the Franchisor for the right to solicit prospective franchisees. Akin to the subfranchise and area representative, however, the Franchise Broker does receive a commission or a portion of the initial franchise fee in exchange for soliciting prospective franchisees.

Let’s take a look at some disclosure and state registration issues related to Franchise Brokers.

Does your system work with franchise brokers?  Are you a franchise broker?  Tell use about your experience.

3 FAQ About HIPAA Compliance

iStock_000016268292Small FAQ1. I heard that the first step to HIPAA compliance is a risk analysis. What kinds of risks do I have to consider in the analysis? When completing a HIPAA risk analysis, you need to consider the following threats:

• Natural threats such as floods, earthquakes, and tornadoes

• Environmental threats such as power failures and chemical or liquid leakage

• Intentional and illegal threats such as eavesdropping, snooping, fraud, theft, and vandalism

• Accidental threats such as input errors and failures to update software

• External threats such as malicious cracking, demon dialing, and viruses

2. If we use email, patient portals, file sharing, and shared office calendars, do we need to implement HIPAA Security Safeguard for these programs and applications? Yes, if you store, transmit, input, or access client information via email, patient portals, file sharing, or shared office calendars, these programs and applications along with the devices that employ these programs and applications, including desktop computers, servers, tablets, laptops and smart phones, must be built-into your HIPAA compliance program.

3. What types of HIPAA training do I have to provide to my staff? As part of your HIPAA compliance program, you must provide initial training to your existing staff and any new staff members regarding your office’s HIPAA policies and procedures. In addition, you must provide ongoing annual training and security reminders to your staff.

Have other questions about HIPAA compliance?  Let's us know your questions!

Franchise Area Representative-Third in a Series

bigstock-Franchise-opportunities-concep-40612081

Franchise Area Representatives, is the third in our series on franchise multi-unit series. The Franchise and Business Opportunity Project of the North American Security Administrators Association, Inc. [NASAA] posted, in consultation with the Federal Trade Commission [FTC], Multi-Unit Commentary [“Commentary”] for public comment. This series is based on the NASAA Commentary.

As recognized by the NASAA comment:

These structures [Area Developer, Subfranchise, and Area Representative] are not mutually exclusive; that is, a franchisor may use just 1 structure or may use a combination of 2 or 3 structures. There are no universally accepted terms for these structures within the franchise industry. The terms used to describe the structures in different franchise systems, and in different laws and regulations, vary widely.

Previously on our blog we discussed Area Developers and Subfranchisors. Click here to see our post on Area Developers and Subfranchisors.

Today we are going to discuss Area Representative. Under an Area Representative arrangement, a person or entity pays the franchisor for the right to sell unit franchise to prospective buyers or to provide significant support to the unit franchisees. The Area Representatives, the Subfranchisor, usually receives a portion of the initial franchisee fee and royalty fees paid by the unit franchisees.

This is the graphic depiction provided in the Commentary:

Pages from www.nasaa.org_wp-content_uploads_2013_10_Proposed-Franchise-Multi-Unit-CommentaryAR

 

Here are some FAQ about Area Representatives and franchise disclosures included in the NASSA commentary.

Next, look for our blog on Franchise Brokers!

Hey, Did You Know What Medication Suzy is Taking?

Image credit: artisticco / 123RF Stock Photo
Image credit: artisticco / 123RF Stock Photo

 

A Behind the Desk report published by a union advocacy group, Change to Win, alleges major HIPAA privacy and security violations against Walgreen’s new pharmacy model. The new model is called “Well Experience.” Walgreens has implemented the Well Experience model in 20 states. The goal of Well Experience is to “make pharmacists more accessible to patients and broaden the focus of the pharmacy by expanding services Walgreens can offer in its drug stores, such as vaccinations and acute and primary care.”

Sound like a good idea? Many retailers are trying innovative approaches to medicine. Kroger has the Little Clinic. CVS has the Minute Clinic. So, what it the issue? The Behind the Desk reports:

In 80 percent of stores visited, patients’ protected health information was left unattended on or near the pharmacist’s desk, and

In 46 percent of stores visited, prescription medication was left unattended.

Pharmacists were observed leaving active computer screens unattended on 11 visits. In some cases, patient information was clearly visible on the screen.

Pharmacists sometimes had sensitive conversations about patients at the desk, including telephone calls with doctors and third parties…

On 10 percent of visits, iPads were left unattended on the pharmacist’s desk.

To see pictures of the Well Experience model and read the full Behind the Desk report click here.

HIPAA does not require that providers, health plans, and business associates preclude all incidental disclosures, but medical providers, health plans and business associates are required to implement reasonable safeguards to prevent incidental disclosure of protected health information.

The Department of Health and Human Services on its website, Understanding HIPAA for Covered Entities and Business Associates says it this way: A covered entity must have in place appropriate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards that protect against uses and disclosures not permitted by the Privacy Rule, as well as limiting incidental uses or disclosures. See 45 CFR 164.530(c). It is not expected that a covered entity’s safeguards guarantee the privacy of protected health information from any and all potential risks.

Listen to the video to learn some of the things you can do to safeguard against incidental disclosures of protected health information or PHI.

Share some of the HIPAA privacy and security challenges and solutions that you implemented in your office or workplace!

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