A Very Scary (Legal) Halloween Show [e112]

October 31, 2014

The guys end the week by talking about short-term leases for Halloween costume shops. They then answer the question, “We are planning a Halloween costume contest but I was concerned about liability. Is there anything I should prohibit or any rules I should put into place?”

Full Podcast Transcript

NASIR: All right. Welcome to our podcast – our very scary podcast – where we cover scary business news and also answer some of your scary business legal questions that you, the listener, can send in to ask@legallysoundsmartbusiness.com/scary.

MATT: The Halloween Episode. It’s Halloween today.

NASIR: Oh, it’s Halloween?

MATT: I’m dressed up. You’re dressed up.

NASIR: You’re still sporting the 5 o’clock shadow which is cool.

MATT: Well, you made a big deal of the beard last week when we recorded and, after we got done, I instantly went and shaved because I hated it. Like, immediately afterwards, because I was like, well, I think you said it at every episode.

NASIR: Well, very good. Well, we get to talk about some actual real Halloween-related legal issues today which is fun.

MATT: Yeah, we’ll get to the question later. I think that one’s a pretty obvious one. I think it’s a question that every employer probably thinks about. But the story we have that’s Halloween-based, it’s something I’ve always wondered, or at least I’ve always thought about, because you’ll see these pop up and, you know, in the last few years, it’s gotten even more. It used to be maybe one, maybe two months a year. Now, it seems like it’s almost, like, four months that these businesses will be around. I’m talking about, like, the little pop-up shops, the Halloween costume stores. But, yeah, it’s these short-term leases that these businesses are going to enter into because, obviously, you’re not going to have a Halloween store that’s open year-round because I think, once November 1st hits, you’re probably not going to make many sales. So, these businesses are signing up for these short-term leases and I don’t know if there’s any specifics on how long. I would say anywhere from two to four months, probably?

NASIR: Yeah.

MATT: Maybe four might be generous.

NASIR: Yeah, four months might be generous. I mean, I definitely saw them in September so at least 60 days or so.

MATT: Yeah.

NASIR: What’s interesting though, you know, pop-up leases – this is what they call them, “pop-up leases” – very familiar with this Halloween industry. But, you know, you also have other seasonal stuff and it’s great for retailers, especially, like, after the commercial leasing spaces just all opened up after 2008. This was great for landlords because it’s much better to have something there than this empty space that makes your shopping center look kind of dreary. So, it’s a great compromise in that respect. Dreary, yeah, get it.

MATT: I thought you did that intentionally.

NASIR: I didn’t.

MATT: Obviously, the model for landlords is to lock a business in long-term to an agreement, not have to worry about anything, but it’s a nice alternative if you do have that vacant space and you need someone to fill it for a few months. I mean, this is the way to go. There’s going to be some costs involved in dealing with them and getting them in and out of the space, but it’s better than just eating the rent for however many months.

NASIR: Yeah, and one of the things though that I’ve seen when we’ve done any kind of short-term leases – I haven’t done any Halloween-related pop-ups – but I think anything less than a year, right? I think one of the things that is – I don’t know if the word is “underestimated” – I should say “overlooked” is that, even though it’s a short lease, you still kind of have to approach it as if it’s any other lease in the sense that everything from how you handle utilities to additional rent to whether or not, especially in this case, if you’re only going to be there for two months, what about maintenance during that period? Whether there’s repairs that are needed inside and outside because usually long-term leases for commercial spaces, you’re responsible for the repairs inside. But what if you’re only going to be there for a couple of months? You just want to make sure that things are running correctly and it maintains that way throughout the time. For Halloween, I guess you don’t have a lot of A/C – air conditioning units – going bad, but what about heating, you know? You want your customers to be warm instead of cool.

MATT: Good tip if you’re the owner of the business and it’s a Halloween store, just look for the bigger companies that are struggling, that are going to go out of business, and then you just kind of watch them and, you know, they go out of business.

NASIR: Watch their demise.

MATT: You can kind of go, like, under the radar. Be like, “You’re out of business and you’re not making money and you’re not making money and you’re still paying rent, we’ll pay you X amount of dollars for two months to rent it out.” So, it’s kind of like a win-win.

NASIR: Oh, yeah, you could sublease it out. A lot of times, even though you would think that, the longer the lease, the less per month you pay, right? But, for these short-term leases, especially for an already vacant property, you can get some really good deals – you know, 50, 60 cents on the dollar.

MATT: It all depends on the market, right? If there’s a lot of availability, then it’s more in favor of the people looking to lease.

NASIR: And, if there’s not a lot of availability, then it’s in favor of the landlord.

MATT: I don’t think we need to explain the basics…

NASIR: Of supply and demand?

MATT: I guess it’d be… Yeah, I was going to say, “Landlord, tenant, or real estate,” but, yeah, supply and demand. They cross like an X on a graph.

NASIR: Very nice.

MATT: That was microeconomics day one, I think.

NASIR: Yeah. So, from the scary tidbit you can get from that is basically treat pop-up leases or short-term leases just as long-term leases. And, again, let me make another step sideways here to a different issue. Even a contract of small amounts of money compared to a contract with large amounts of money, those fundamental concepts are still there and, a lot of times, because sometimes a contract can have low consequence from a financial perspective in the initial beginning, then people tend to take less condition of having it reviewed by an attorney. But the problem with that is that the legal implications of liability has sometimes no relation to how much is actually at controversy at the inception of the contract. So, just the lesson of it all is treat every contract as the same. Yeah, if there’s more money involved, you may pay more attention to it, but that doesn’t mean that just because there’s less money involved that it may not have as big of a legal consequence.

MATT: Always have to make Halloween not fun.

NASIR: I know, sorry.

MATT: Tangling it up with your legal talk.

NASIR: I did try to make it scary, you know.
[MUSIC]

MATT: Oh, I think it got scary.

NASIR: So, let’s get to our question of the day.

MATT: The Halloween themed question.

NASIR: Nice. By the way, you have to ask the question in a scary way, too.

MATT: Well, I don’t have a scary voice.

NASIR: All right, fine.

MATT: Maybe Chris can do something to make my voice… I’ll read it slow so he can alter it.
“We are planning a Halloween costume contest, but I was concerned about liability. Is there anything I should prohibit or any rules I should put into place?”

NASIR: What would be best if he didn’t do anything. That was scary enough. So, yeah, the Halloween costume party contest liability concerns. You know, I’m such a downer and this is probably because I’m an attorney but I really think that having these parties in the office is kind of weird to me because it’s like, “Okay. This is the place we work,” or whatever and I just think about all the issues that could come up. but, at the same time, I understand you should have, like, very fun and open work places, but I personally don’t get into that stuff, you know? But, at the same time, when it comes to liability issues that we’re going to talk about in a second, I think it’s much more important to have a culture where everyone understands that, “Okay, Even if we’re having fun, we still have to act professionally, right?” Just because there’s decorations or we come to work, we’re in costume, in a clown outfit, doesn’t mean the work place is a joke all of a sudden either.

MATT: Yeah, and it is on a Friday this year so I feel like it’s going to be a little bit more…

NASIR: Crazy.

MATT: Yeah, it’s always a little bit crazier. I mean, to me, a couple of things come to mind. Just be smart about it. Nothing that gives rise to any sort of sexual harassment or any sort of discrimination or anything that could put people’s safety into question. I think that’s kind of the three things I would look to.

NASIR: Yeah, those are good general rules. I mean, we can talk about specifics but, again, think about it, just make it like any other day. Have fun with it but you’re still in a workplace, especially as a supervisor or owner of your business, you still have to set the tone. Be careful with alcohol, of course, during these parties – and that goes with everything. And so, you know, make it fun but, you know, don’t go crazy about it.

MATT: Yeah, it’s hard to give any, like, specific advice.

NASIR: The question asked is, “Is there any other rules to put into place?” That makes it a little more difficult.

MATT: Maybe give some examples of what’s an inappropriate costume to wear, I guess, would be something you could let your employees know.

NASIR: Yeah, that’s true. It’s hard to say, like, “Yeah, still wear professional costumes.” But I think making general rules, nothing that’s offensive, obscene, racial in any way, or avoid, like, the hot topics. Like, every year, right? On the first week of November, we’ll see pictures of people wearing some very offensive costumes in the workplace and then someone will get sued from it. Don’t be that social media meme, you know, the first week of November.

MATT: Yeah, we’re going to see stuff, yeah, first week of November, of people that wore the wrong thing to work and ended up getting, like, fired. So, that’s always going to happen.

NASIR: But, in general, I think, if you already have an atmosphere which has a culture that is already professional, you’re not going to have that problem. But, if your business is already kind of crazy on the regular days, then that’s just going to be exaggerated and that’s really when the problems occur.

MATT: And I know we really overloaded it on the Monday episode, but there’s so many episodes of The Office that deal with pretty much what not to do on Halloween.

NASIR: Yes, there’s at least three or four Halloween episodes.

MATT: I think, last year, I believe, because there’s one from every single season. I think they showed them all in a row and I watched all of them.

NASIR: Oh, really?

MATT: It was like four hours’ worth of hilarious Office episodes. Yeah, it’s like every year would be so many terrible things to do for Halloween.

NASIR: Yeah. I mean, keep in mind too – I just thought of something – not everyone celebrates Halloween too and there may be some religious reasons for that. There was a court case in California that ended up getting dismissed because, like the Abercrombie & Fitch case, the employer successfully argued this time that the employee didn’t go through that process of religious accommodation in that aspect. But, at the same time, that employee was tricked saying, “Oh, it’s not a Halloween party. It’s a staff appreciation party,” or something like that, “where we’ll all going to dress up on the day of Halloween,” or something weird like that, right? So, be careful about those kinds of issues and – I don’t know – I guess we’ve answered this over and over again.

MATT: Yeah.

NASIR: But just be respectful to the other people.

MATT: It is the end of the month so, if you have to terminate someone and you haven’t decided who to fire yet, try to do it before Halloween or else you’ll end up firing someone wearing a costume.

NASIR: Which happened on what? The third or fourth episode of The Office, I believe, the first season.

MATT: One of the first episodes. It was pretty funny. Which, actually, the guy they fired, they actually brought him back, I think, the last episode.

NASIR: Yeah.

MATT: He was on there, which was a nice call-back. What do they call that? Fan, fan fiction?

NASIR: Fan fiction? I don’t know.

MATT: There’s something like, when fans really want something to happen.

NASIR: And then, it happens.

MATT: Yeah.

NASIR: It think it’s called fan fiction.

MATT: Yeah, that’s what we’ll go with.

NASIR: I have no idea. All right. Well, thanks for joining us, everyone. Don’t forget to go to iTunes.com and search for “Legally Sound Smart Business” and then go to the reviews page and then rate us five stars and leave a high-level review for us.

MATT: You said iTunes.com? I was writing that down just to make sure. I’ve never heard of it.

NASIR: No, iTunes.

MATT: Have a fun and safe and smart Halloween and keep it sound and keep it smart.

Legally Sound | Smart Business

By

The Podcast Where Nasir Pasha and Matt Staub cover business in the news with their legal twist and answer business legal questions that you the listener can send it to info@legallysoundsmartbusiness.com.

Get Business Legal Updates

Please provide your full name.
Please provide a valid email address.
We respect your privacy, and we will never share your information. Unsubscribe at any time.
Legally Sound Smart Business cover art

Legally Sound Smart Business

A business podcast with a legal twist

Legally Sound Smart Business is a podcast by Pasha Law PC covering different topics in business advice and news with a legal twist with attorneys Nasir Pasha and Matt Staub.
Apple Podcast badge
Google Podcast badge
Spotify Podcast badge

Latest Episodes

July 14, 2021

Through a five-round championship bout, Matt travels to Texas from California to determine which state is better for business. Will it be a knockout with a clear winner or will it go to the scorecards?

June 16, 2021

Covered in this episode of Legally Sound Smart Business are some typical business mistakes blunders small businesses often make and how to avoid them. Blunder #1: Copying and pasting agreements It may sound like a good idea at the time, but this blunder comes with hidden pitfalls. Having an attorney draft terms that are specific…

February 4, 2021

How you terminate an employee can make the difference between a graceful transition to avoidable negative outcomes like a dramatic exit or even a lawsuit. We gathered a panel of experts and asked them – is there a “right way” to fire an employee? We would like to thank our guests for this episode: Amr…

December 2, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned nearly every aspect of life on its head, and that certainly holds true for the business world. In this episode, Matt and Nasir explain how the early days of the pandemic felt like the Wild West and how the shifting legal playing field left a lot open to interpretation and…

November 16, 2020

After plenty of ups and downs, our buyer has finally closed on the purchase of their business. While we’re marking this down in the ‘wins’ column, it never hurts to review the game tape. In this final episode, our hosts, Matt Staub and Nasir Pasha, return to the deal almost a year later to reflect…

September 15, 2020

The ink is drying on the signature line and things are looking great for our buyer. After so much hard work, the finish line is in sight and the cheering within ear shot.   Though the landlord is still serving friction, things seem safe to move forward and for now, our buyer will be keeping…

July 31, 2020

Though things are coming along well, the journey would not be interesting if it was purely smooth sailing. After our buyer opens escrow, they are forced to push the closing date back when suddenly a letter from an attorney was received claiming the business, we are buying has a trade mark on the name!  Now…

June 12, 2020

With frustration at an all-time high and professionalism at an all-time low, our friend the Buyer has “had it” with the Seller and quite frankly their lack of knowledge. At present our Buyer is rightfully concerned that the latest misstep from our loose-lipped Seller will threaten not only the entire operation of the businesses but…

May 11, 2020

As we go deeper into the buying process, we start to uncover more challenges from our seller and encounter some of the wrenches they are tossing our way. When we last left off in episode three our team was knee deep in due diligence for our buyer, had already penned and signed the Letter of…

April 4, 2020

One word–interloper! When a new mysterious broker enters the transaction and starts to kick up dust, Nasir and Matt take the reins. The seller signed off on the letter of intent (see episode 2), yet this “business broker” serves only friction and challenges by refusing to send financials, whilst demanding more of a firm commitment…

April 4, 2020

Just as most stories and deals start out, everyone is optimistic, idealistic and full of hope for clear skies. It’s a perfect outlook with a perfect setup for the ups and downs yet to come. Peek further behind the curtain and into the first steps of buying a business: the letter of intent. After the…

April 4, 2020

When a savvy buyer hears opportunity knocking to purchase a prime positioned business, she decides not to go it alone and taps in the professionals to help navigate what could potentially be a fruitful acquisition. “Behind the Buy” is a truly rare and exclusive peak into the actual process, dangers, pitfalls and achievements, that can…

August 7, 2019

GrubHub is subject to two “matters of controversy” that have likely become common knowledge to business owners: “fake” orders and unfriendly microsites.

May 28, 2019

In this podcast episode, Matt and Nasir breakdown the legal issues of the subscription industry’s business on the internet. Resources A good 50-state survey for data breach notifications as of July 2018. California Auto-Renewal Law (July 2018) Privacy Policies Law by State Why Users of Ashley Madison May Not Sue for Data Breach [e210] Ultimate…

March 12, 2019

In recording this episode’s topic on the business buying process, Matt’s metaphor, in comparing the process to getting married probably went too far, but they do resemble one another. Listen to the episode for legal advice on buying a business.

December 3, 2018

Nasir and Matt return to discuss the different options available to companies looking to raise funds through general solicitation and crowdfunding. They discuss the rules associated with the various offerings under SEC regulations and state laws, as well as more informal arrangements. The two also discuss the intriguing story about a couple who raised over…

July 24, 2018

Flight Sim Labs, a software add-on creator for flight simulators, stepped into a PR disaster and possibly some substantial legal issues when it allegedly included a Trojan horse of sorts as malware to combat pirating of its $100 Airbus A320 software. The hidden test.exe file triggered anti-virus software for good reason as it was actually…

April 17, 2018

Attorneys Matt Staub and Nasir Pasha examine Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional hearings about the state of Facebook. The two also discuss Cambridge Analytica and the series of events that led to the congressional hearings, the former and current versions of Facebook’s Terms of Service, and how businesses should be handling data privacy. Full Podcast Transcript NASIR:…

March 10, 2018

The Trump presidency has led to a major increase in ICE immigration enforcement. It’s critical for business owners to both comply with and know their rights when it comes to an ICE audit or raid. Nasir, Matt, and Pasha Law attorney Karen McConville discuss how businesses can prepare for potential ICE action and how to…

February 5, 2018

New years always bring new laws. Effective January 1, 2018, California has made general contractors jointly liable for the unpaid wages, fringe benefits, and other benefit payments of a subcontractor. Nasir and Matt discuss who the new law applies to and how this affects all tiers in the general contractor-subcontractor relationship. Click here to learn…

January 2, 2018

With a seemingly endless amount of new mattress options becoming available, it is unsurprising that the market has become increasingly aggressive. As companies invest in more innovative solutions to get in front of customers, review sites, blogs and YouTube videos have moved to the forefront of how customers are deciding on their mattresses and how…

December 7, 2017

In recent months explosive amounts of high profile allegations of sexual harassment, assault, and varying acts of inappropriate behavior have transcended every sector of our professional world. With a deluge from Hollywood and politics, and the private workforce, accusations have inundated our feeds and mass media. This harassment watershed has not only been felt within…

November 16, 2017

If you are not familiar with the EB-5 program started in 1990 to give green cards to certain qualified investors in the United States, then you may not have been alone a few years ago. Currently, the EB-5 program has since exploded since its inception and now hits its quotas consistently each year. The program…

October 10, 2017

Government requests come in multiple forms. They can come in as requests for client information or even in the form of investigating your company or your employees. Requests for Client Information General Rule to Follow Without understanding the nuances of criminal and constitutional law and having to cite Supreme Court cases, any government requests for…

August 24, 2017

Nasir and Matt suit up to talk about everything pertaining to employee dress codes. They discuss the Federal laws that govern many rules for employers, as well as state specific nuances in California and other states. The two also emphasize the difficulty in identifyingreligious expression in dress and appearance, how gender-related dress codes have evolved…

June 28, 2017

Nasir and Matt discuss the life cycle of a negative online review. They talk about how businesses should properly respond, how to determine if the review is defamatory, the options available to seek removal of the review, how to identify anonymous reviewers, whether businesses can require clients to agree not to write negative reviews, and…

June 7, 2017

On this episode of the Ultimate Legal Breakdown, Nasir and Mattbreak down social media marketing withguests Tyler Sickmeyer and Kyle Weberof Fidelitas Development. They first discuss contests and promotionsand talk about where social media promotions can go wrong,when businesses are actually running an illegal lottery, and the importance of a soundterms and conditions. Next, they…

April 3, 2017

On this episode of the Ultimate Legal Breakdown, Nasir and Matt go in depth with the subscription box business. They discuss where subscription box companies have gone wrong(4:30), the importance of a specifically tailored terms and conditions(6:30), how to structure return policies (11:45), product liability concerns (14:45),the offensive and defensive side of intellectual property (19:00),…

February 1, 2017

Nasir and Matt discuss the suit against Apple that resultedfrom a car crashed caused by the use of FaceTime while driving. They also discuss howforeseeable use of apps can increase liability for companies. Full Podcast Transcript NASIR: Hi and welcome to Legally Sound Smart Business! I’m Nasir Pasha. MATT: And I’m Matt Staub. Two attorneys…

January 5, 2017

The guys kick in the new year by first discussing Cinnabon’s portrayal of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia soon after her death, as well as other gaffes involving Prince and David Bowie. They alsotalk about right of publicity claims companies could be held liable for based on using someone’s name or likeness for commercial gain.

December 22, 2016

Nasir and Matt discuss the recent incidentat a Victoria’s Secret store where the store manager kicked out all black women after one black woman was caught shoplifting. They then each present dueling steps businesses should take when employees are accused of harassment.

December 8, 2016

Nasir and Matt return to talk about the different types of clients that may have outstanding invoices and how businesses can convert unpaid bills to getting paid.

November 10, 2016

After a long break, Nasir and Matt are back to discuss a Milwaukee frozen custard stand that is now revising it’s English only policy for employees. The guys also discuss how similar policies could be grounds for discrimination and what employers can do to revise their policies.

October 6, 2016

The guys discuss the new California law that allows actors to request the removal of their date of birth and birthdays on their IMDB page and why they think the law won’t last. They also discuss how age discrimination claims arise for business owner.

September 29, 2016

Nasir and Matt discuss the racial discrimination claims surroundingAirbnb and how it’s handled the situation. They also discuss some practical tips for businesses experiencing similar issues.

September 8, 2016

Nasir and Matt discuss whyAmazon seller accounts are getting suspended and banned without notice and how business owners can rectify this situation through a Corrective Action Plan.

August 25, 2016

Nasir and Matt talk about the accusations surroundingfashion giant Zararipping off the designs of independent artists like Tuesday Bassen and howsmaller companies can battle the industry giants.

August 18, 2016

Nasir and Matt discuss Brave Software’s ad replacing technology that has caught the eye of almost every national newspaper and has a potential copyright infringement claim looming. They also welcome digital marketing expert Matt Michaelree to speak on the specifics of what Brave is attempting to do and whether it has the answers moving forward.

July 28, 2016

Nasir and Matt discuss the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Gretchen Carlson against Fox CEO Roger Ailes. They also talk aboutthe importance of sexual harassment training and properly handling such allegations in the office.

July 15, 2016

Nasir and Matt talk about the changes at Starbucks that have led to many disgruntled employees and customers.

June 23, 2016

Nasir and Matt discuss the criminal charges facing FedExinvolving the alleged transportation of illegal drugs. They also talk about how business owners should address working with customers that may be breaking the law.

June 15, 2016

The guys return after a long break to discuss why Yahoo is auctioning off over 3,000 patents and how this decision will affect the longevity of the company.

May 25, 2016

Nasir and Matt discuss the increase in the salary thresholdfor exempt employees and how employerscan try to avoid paying overtime as a result.

May 18, 2016

Nasir and Matt discuss the Baltimore law that makes it very difficult to operate food trucks in the city. They also discuss all the legal restrictions tohaving a food truck.

May 11, 2016

Matt listens to Nasir recap the developing battle in his hometown of Vandalia, Ohio over whether a Dunkin Donuts can move into a location in close proximity to a local favorite donut shop. They then discusswhether the issue is more legal or personal.

May 9, 2016

The guys kick off the week by discussing a Nevada employee who is claiming she was fired for not supporting the Scientology beliefs of her employer.

April 27, 2016

The guys discuss the massive floods in Houston,how employers responded, and why one meteorologist became a local hero. They also discuss the steps businesses should take in preparing for storms outside the workplace.

April 20, 2016

The guys discuss the boycott of Amazon over the products of an unnamed presidential candidate. They also talkabout how a business should handle a boycott and whether it’s possible to exit one unscathed.

April 13, 2016

Click here to read HubSpot’s response on this topic. Nasir and Matt discuss the trend in startups to compensate programmers and other early employees with stock options and how the company culture at HubSpot isn’t what it seems.

April 6, 2016

Nasir and Matt discuss various lawsuits against social media platforms in which users are accused of artificially inflating their social currency.

We represent businesses.
That’s all we do.

Oh, and we love it.

We love our work. We love reviewing that lease for your new location. We thrive on closing that acquisition that nearly fell through. We’re fulfilled when we structure a business to grow, raise capital, and be legally protected.

We focus on developing close relationships with our clients by being like business partners. A partner who provides essential, personalized, proactive legal support.

We do all of this without utilizing the traditional billable hour model. You pay for the value we bring, not the time spent on calls, emails, and meetings.

Our team is made up of attorneys and staff that share these values and we are retained by clients who want the same.

Pasha Law PC operates in the states of California, Illinois, New York, and Texas.

Meet Our Team

Fractional General Counsel Services

Pasha Law Select offers the expertise of a high-end general counsel legal team for every aspect of your business at a fixed monthly rate. Pasha Law Select is deliberately designed to allow our legal team to be proactive, to anticipate, and to be comprehensive in serving our clients. To be great lawyers, we need to know our clients. We can’t know our clients unless we represent a select number of clients in the long-term. This is Pasha Law Select.

Learn More