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3 Things You Can Do Now to Limit Your Long-Term Liability

Think beyond the short and medium terms.

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THE JEWELERS VIGILANCE Committee exists at the crossroads of solving for your legal risk and optimizing your business success. We’ve been active with many of our members since the onset of this crisis in determining how to navigate it as best possible.

Phase 1 of this crisis was all about making that initial list of things you had to tackle and get right at the onset of COVID-19. Some in the industry contracted and shut down, some went remote and totally digital, and some ended up in between. The primary concerns from the JVC perspective were:

  • Human resource and employment issues.
  • Retail leasing and getting access to relief.
  • The Paycheck Protection Program or emergency loans and figuring out that entire process.

Also crucial were the operational adjustments needed to function remotely or in other new ways.

I feel we are now in Phase 2 of the situation. We’ve had the initial shock and are now looking toward surviving long-term. That lands us in the medium term now. In operating in this medium term, let’s be sure to work in the service of making it to the long term. JVC doesn’t want anyone to sink into this medium- term moment, which is a perfectly understandable temptation after being exhausted from operating in crisis mode for several months. But let’s keep our collective focus on making good decisions now to get us to the long term.

Consider how you might be creating long-term liability for yourself in making some of these medium-term decisions. Consider these area:

  • Whether and how to reopen.
  • Your AML (anti-money laundering) program.
  • Social media advertising.

JVC has been focused as an organization, even before this crisis, on bringing the risk down in your business. So we would guide you to delay reopening as long as you can, and to take the proper precautions when you decide to reopen. This is said with the acknowledgement of the extreme financial stress many brick-and-mortar retailers are under. If you do reopen, you must have a policy in place, one that is written down and that you actually follow. Make it available to all employees and even to consumers and be sure to cover social distancing, disinfecting, asking people to attest to their health and other issues you can find covered on our website www.jvelegal.org/covid19. We anticipate lawsuits and claims around safety and HR issues as well as privacy matters. You need to go to new lengths to protect your customers and employees, as well as the business itself. Be extremely thoughtful about the decision to reopen and its potential long-term impacts to you.

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Second, have your anti-money laundering program in place and be sure your annual test has been done. We know that there is increased money laundering around the world, and jewelry and jewelry raw materials are often used in these activities. The federal government will continue to enforce after this crisis and will also be pressuring banks to close accounts for those that can’t prove that they have active and effective AML programs. The JVC is one source that offers kits to both implement and test your program. Doing so is required by federal law. Having this taken care of will protect you from the hassle of either the IRS or your bank surprising you with a request for this documentation and will also give you peace of mind that you are not unwittingly contributing to criminal activity.

Finally, how are you advertising online? We are in a digital-only environment now, and you are under special requirements to make the proper disclosures about the jewelry you are selling in the correct way to protect the U.S. consumer. You have to use the right terminology whether you are describing a diamond, making Made in the USA claims or eco claims, or working with an influencer to promote your brand. Check out www.jvclegal.org/how-to-advertise-jewelry for guidance on how to get this right.

At the JVC , we hope you and yours are healthy and well. We are united in this industry to keep emphasizing the beauty, meaning and emotion of jewelry and want to make sure you and your business thrive for many years to come.

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