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Legal Issues in Business Communications

Legal Issues in Business Communications


Legal Issues in Business Communications SAGE Publications, Inc.1983DOI: 10.1177/108056998304600306 Iris I. Varner Illinois State University Carson H. Varner Attorney-at-Law Most textbooks in business communication mention the importance of the law in communication, but they seldom discuss the issue in detail. The law is cited most often in connection with selling substitutes, writing personnel reports, application letters, resumes, interviews, collection letters, and sales letters. Usually the textbook authors simply state what is considered legal or illegal without further explanation. Of course authors seldom have a legal background. They are trying to teach business communications, not the subtleties of legal issues. Thus we find that the "legal" rules given are usually sound and prudent but not necessarily a separation of "legal" from "illegal" practices. The purpose of this article is to discuss common legal issues in business communication, show their complexity, and give guiding principles rather than lists of do's and don'ts. WHAT IS A LAW? Under our federal system, laws may be passed either by the individual state or by the central government in Washington, D.C. A Georgia law, for example, would have no effect in Illinois--although a Federal law would apply throughout the country and have precedence over
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