Five Legal Issues That Could Destroy Your Business
Owning your own business can be a very financially and personally rewarding experience. However, while there are many benefits to running your own business, there are countless legal issues that could derail your company both with your customer base and the surrounding business community. Further, of all the issues businesses face, legal issues are usually the most problematic and complicated. Not only can legal issues force a business to stop running, but these disputes could also affect the business owner on a personal level. Below is a list of the most common legal issues that could destroy your businesses.
While most small businesses begin as a single person or small group of partners, as you scale your business, you will likely have to employ additional people. After you hire your first employee, your business takes on additional responsibility ensuring that the relationship between the business and employee confines to tenets law.
Laws small businesses must worry about encompass the number of lawful working hours, the work environment, time off, and reasons why you may let go of an employee. As ignorance of a law is no excuse, business owners must understand employment laws to avoid legal issues. This is true whether your company has one of one hundred employees as labor laws encompass every type and size of the company. However, if you do violate labor laws, the more employees you have to more severe the penalties will be.
While ethics laws are extremely important, they are some of the most subtle laws that businesses break without realizing they are doing so. The reason for this is that many ethics laws exist in a “grey” area where the actions that are illegal under these laws may be considered ethical by some people yet unethical by others.
Within business, however, ethics applies to almost every area of business including finance, human resources, sales and marketing, and contractual agreements. Thus, especially as your business grows, it is easy to see how a business may break ethics laws without the leaders of the company ever knowing.
If a business violates ethical laws, it will likely either be assessed a fine or another penalty that the company can easily recover from. However, other types of ethical violations may see the business suffer in the public area due to the instant access to information that social media now offers. While this type of punishment is not placed on by the government if an ethical scandal finds its way to social media, the company who committed the violation will suffer credibility wise and other companies may refuse to do business with them.
Customer Protection Laws
Whether you are a small or large company, customer relationships are one of the most important factors to focus on when trying to succeed. Additionally, what makes these relationships so important is that they are often extremely delicate to maintain as one small issue could destroy years of trust-building. This reason and a few other factors are likely why the government created laws to regulate and manage the relationship between consumers and businesses.
Further, in most cases, customer protection laws help consumers over businesses as the laws focus on protecting customers from unfair or abusive practices. Customer protection laws most commonly deal with privacy rights, product liability, misrepresentation, and unfair business practices. Similar to the other laws discussed, violating consumer protection laws could lead a business to be fined, a business license suspension, or even a class-action lawsuit.
Intellectual Property Laws
Keeping an intellectual property lawyer on retainer is vital to your success. The reason for this is that the individual can produce valuable insights into the industry landscape. Additionally, by constantly working with the company, the lawyer can become comfortable with your company’s products and procedures. From this familiarity, a lawyer can more efficiently register additional intellectual property protections than the first application.
Aside from protecting your company, an intellectual property lawyer will help you avoid stealing—whether intentionally or unintentionally—things like music, literature, symbols, content, designs, and images. This is even more important if you outsource digital profile work to another company unfamiliar with your brand and sector.
As the world becomes smaller and smaller due to globalization, businesses are much more likely to get job applications from applicants who live outside of the country. However, when looking to hire a foreign applicant, companies should understand the laws in place which regulate the employment of non-citizens or non-permanent residents of the United States, and violation of such laws often carries stiff penalties.
Additionally, the federal government conducts surprise immigration audits. If your company is breaking a law, you will incur a large fine. Thus, to avoid legal issues and potentially large fines, business owners must ensure that their employees have the legal right to work in the country.
Contact Our DC Law Office for More Information
Finally, for more on legal issues that could destroy your business, contact us at 202-803-5676. You can also directly schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys. Additionally, for general information regarding business law, check out our blog.