For a business to run smoothly, all aspects of the workplace must abide by various legalities. From contracts and hiring employees to leases and zoning laws, there are a lot of legal concerns a business needs to be aware of in its day-to-day operations. Getting involved with any one aspect without careful planning could result in fines, lawsuits, or even shut down. Business owners need to work with lawyers who can keep them apprised of their rights and let them know when they need to take action on an issue.
The following is a list of just some of the most common business situations that require attention from an experienced lawyer:
Personal Injury Cases
The business has insurance to protect them from any personal injury cases that might arise. Despite all the measures a company can take to prevent anything bad from happening, it’s still possible for businesses to get themselves into legal trouble ultimately leading to lawsuits or other legal action being taken against them resulting from a personal injury case. For example, if a worker falls and breaks their hip on the job site, then his or her employer might be found liable for allowing an unsafe working environment to exist if their company-issued. No company is immune from these risks. Business owners must do everything within reason and the law to ensure they are protected should this happen.
Businesses can’t just start handing out business cards and opening bank accounts. Each state has its guidelines for what is needed to form a business and how it should be done, and hiring an attorney who’s well-versed in this area will ensure that everything goes smoothly. If the company doesn’t go through the proper procedures, it could lose all of its legal rights as a corporation, including protection from personal liability, before it ever makes any money. The same applies to non-profit organizations. If the non-profit status isn’t obtained, then the organization is considered a standard business for tax purposes. The help of an attorney is important to avoid any penalties the organization would incur if it were taxed like a for-profit entity.
When it comes to hiring employees, companies need to know how to avoid discrimination in the workplace and ensure that their new hires are legally allowed to work in this country. Failing to meet these standards can lead to fines or even lawsuits down the line. It’s also important for businesses not to discriminate in the hiring process – not only because it’s ethically wrong, but also because it could result in fines if any group is hired at an insufficient rate when compared with other groups in the company demographic. Additionally, business owners must make sure they are aware of all necessary documents needed to hire employees. This includes a birth certificate, social security card, and any permit or visa needed to work.
Employee Wages and Contracts
Employees are one of the most important assets a business has, and accordingly, they need to be treated fairly and compensated well. Businesses run into legal issues when they try to cut corners with their employees – such as by not paying minimum wage or overtime – because the company could be fined for failing to meet federal and state labor laws. If an employee feels that they’ve been mistreated or under-compensated, then their only recourse might be filing a lawsuit against the business in question. Contracting is another area where businesses can get themselves into trouble. Any time an individual is hired as an independent contractor, it needs to be made clear with both parties what their status is to avoid legal trouble down the line.
Intellectual Property Rights and Patents
Businesses often want the rights to their employees’ ideas, but this is more complicated when it comes to truly creative types. For example, an artist might not be inclined to share their creations with a company if they know the business will make a lot of money from its use. In these cases, companies should create contracts that detail how much credit the creator of the work will receive and what compensation they’ll receive for sharing it, whether cash or something else of value (such as additional vacation time). If intellectual property rights are violated in some way, then the business could find itself facing copyright infringement charges or even losing all profit made off of any stolen ideas.
Any business owner who wants to keep their business out of legal trouble should become familiar with the laws that pertain to their industry. With hundreds of federal, state, and local regulations governing many different industries, it can be daunting to try and memorize all of them. Therefore, having a legal expert in your business’ corner at all times could be the best thing for its future. Doing so might cost a little extra, but it’s an invaluable investment when you consider all of the risks mentioned above could be avoided with good legal advice.