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Hiring a virtual assistant: Your legal checklist

We know a virtual assistant is a lifesaver for business owners so you can focus on strategic projects. To give you peace of mind, we have prepared a quick legal checklist.

1- Protect your business systems

Business systems are worth a lot of money for two reasons:

1- Protect your competitive advantage- your business process involves how your business works internally and externally. Developing the system takes expertise and experience.

2- Licensing your business processes to other business enables you to get a passive income.

Action: Ensure the contract contains provisions which protect your systems including your intellectual property, confidentiality and business secrets.

2- Check the relationship status

Australia's employment laws provide different workplace protections for people who are independent contractors (like freelancers) and employees.

If the assistant is your employee, the assistant will have certain rights such as sick leave and rights to be paid out if the position is made redundant.

Action: Get a contract in place which selects a relationship that suits your business- Employment contract or an independent contractor agreement.

3- Privacy laws, data security and client lists

When interacting with potential clients online and face to face, your business may collect data about your clients such as their name, email address, phone number, credit card details and medical details. The collection of data gives rise to privacy obligations for businesses depending on the size of the business and the type of data being collected and how it is being used and stored.

If your VA discloses your client's personal data in breach of the privacy laws, you can be legally liable, so it pays to get it right.

When working with a virtual assistant, it involves disclosing client data in two ways:

1- Sharing client data with the your virtual assistant. You will want to protect your client lists so they do not share it with a competitor or set up a competing business.

2- Collaboration tools (eg- Asana or Trello) collects data to provide you with services. The handling of your client's data on their site and your personal/business data is then managed through Asana/Trello's electronic contract with you. Some collaboration tools have a term in their T's and C's which allow them to display your boards if you are using the free version.


1- Notify people when you are collecting personal information from them and how you will be using the data and how it will be stored. If you plan to put to a different use than originally said, seek their consent.

2- Develop a Privacy Policy about how you handle personal information and publish it online.

3- Ensure the contract with your virtual assistant covers:

  • What happens to your data and relationships during and at the end of the relationship.

  • Clearly specifies how data is to be used, held and protected- including policies and procedures and IT measures.

4- De-identify data you collect and store.

5- Speak with your IT professional about physical steps you can take including network security, access controls and password managers.

To find out more, contact Caroline Mense

Principal Lawyer at Legal Enablers

Call: (03) 8691 3128


Meet: Level 14, 330 Collins Street Melbourne VIC 3000

Yes- we do video-conferencing for the busy professional.

Disclaimer: The content of this checklist is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication.

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