There are many different laws that can affect small business owners, and it can make it difficult for any new entrepreneur to keep things straight. This can lead to a variety of struggles, including the potential for lawsuits. It's important that you protect your business from risks like these, but that means being familiar with the laws that can put you at risk. Here are a few of the most common mistakes that new entrepreneurs can make and some tips to help you avoid them.
Using Cookie-Cutter Contracts
With so many legal resources freely available online, many business owners grab standard contract templates from websites. Unfortunately, these cookie-cutter contracts aren't always all that they seem. Although the standard contract form makes it easy for you as a business owner, there's always a risk of holes in the contract language.
This can result in contracts that aren't enforceable or contracts that are missing a key factor of protection for your company. In fact, contracts can be invalidated in court because of a single missing word. With business contracts being so important, you need to be sure that they are correct. The best thing you can do to ensure that your company is protected is to have your contracts written to suit the situation by working with a corporate attorney.
Making Employer Mistakes
As an employer, you're bound by a specific set of regulations. There are certain things you're prohibited from asking and specific guidelines to define employees. Making mistakes in these areas can be costly to your business.
Confusing Employees and Contractors
Hiring employees can be costly, particularly when you account for things like unemployment insurance, benefits and employer taxes. By the time it all adds up, you may actually pay almost as much in added taxes and fees as you pay your employee. That doesn't include the cost for equipment, training and recruiting fees.
You might think you can save a lot of money by hiring those same workers as independent contractors. Unfortunately, there are some pretty specific guidelines about what constitutes an employee as compared to a contractor. The IRS defines those two roles distinctly, and confusing them could be costly. You'll face fines and past-due taxes if you declare an independent contractor who should technically be an employee. It's important that you have a corporate attorney who can help you make the distinction between the two.
Asking Illegal Questions
When you're interviewing potential employees for a job, you need to understand what you can legally ask. There are certain questions that are prohibited by law, and asking any of them could leave you facing a lawsuit from a candidate. For example, inquiring about someone's family status is prohibited. While you cannot ask if they are married or have children, you can legally ask if they have ever held a job under a different name.
You also cannot ask about a candidate's nationality. Even if you're interviewing someone with a clear accent, you're not legally permitted to question the origin of that accent. You are, however, typically permitted to ask an employee or prospective employee if they are bilingual if it can affect their job duties or you're in need of a candidate who speaks a second language.
Making an investment in a small business is anything but a small decision, and understanding the legal guidelines associated with that is important as well. As you can see from the information presented here, protecting your business is going to require the support of a legal specialist such as a commercial attorney. After all, the courts will hold you responsible for any violations of commercial laws whether you're familiar with those laws or not. For more information, contact an experienced attorney from firm like FactorLaw.Share
30 October 2015
My name is Noni. When I was in college, I was hit by a car while crossing the street. My life was never in danger, but I did break a few bones and had a lot of huge medical bills. I was hoping I wouldn't have to get involved with an attorney, but unfortunately, it came down to that. I used a family friend who is an accident attorney to get some compensation. A few years later, I was hit while riding my bike and had to go through the same process. I suppose I'm lucky to be alive. And it's thanks to accident attorneys that I have been able to put my life back together. I started this blog as a way to let others know just how much lawyers can help you in certain situations.