Starting a new business venture is a time that should be exciting and fun.
No matter what type of business you plan to open, you need to make sure that you are following the law. You have a lot of responsibility on your hands, and that means you need to know the various laws that apply to businesses inside and out.
You can’t use the excuse that you simply didn’t know. That won’t work in a court or with an attorney.
Read on to find out the most important business laws you need to know before you start your business.
1. American with Disabilities Act
In 1989, Congress passed this law and it was signed by President Bush in 1990. This was a huge victory for people with disabilities in that they could not be discriminated against.
From a business perspective, any public building has to be accessible to all people. The law is also being applied to websites. This is one area of the law that is changing, so you need to be aware of the changes.
When hiring employees, you have to provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities.
2. Federal and State Tax Laws
You know that taxes are a part of life, and they’re a big part of your business. You need to know your tax responsibilities at the federal, state, and local levels. How much in taxes you need to pay depends on your legal structure, how many employees you have, your revenue, and your location.
Are you starting an ecommerce business? You may now be responsible for paying sales taxes. This is another area of business law that’s evolving. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for states to collect sales tax from retailers doing business there.
3. Intellectual Property and Copyright Laws
If you’re promoting your business, there’s a good chance you’ll have a blog or a website. When you’re putting your website together, you may see an image online that looks great, so you decide to use it.
You could put yourself in legal trouble by doing so. You could be violating someone else’s copyright or intellectual property. They would have the right to seek damages for that copyright violation.
On the flip side, someone could violate your intellectual property. For example, another business could start a business with a very similar name, creating confusion in the marketplace. Someone else could use your secret recipe that your restaurant is known for.
These are important aspects of your business that need protection. Check out
https://weisblattlaw.com/business-litigation/ for more information.
4. Data Privacy Laws
Technology has changed business laws and that includes how data is collected and stored. There are a few data privacy laws that you need to be familiar with.
There are industry-related laws like HIPPA for the healthcare industry, and Sarbanes-Oxley for the financial industry. Both of these regulations have stipulations for storing, sharing, and collecting sensitive data.
Other data privacy laws are coming out that are supposed to give consumers more control over how their personal information is collected and used.
One is GDPR or the General Data Privacy Regulation. This applies to European businesses or businesses outside of Europe that have website visitors or customers from Europe.
California recently adopted a similar version of GDPR, called the California Consumer Privacy Act, which is due to go into effect on January 1, 2020. This applies mostly to larger organizations, but you should expect other stated to pass similar laws in the next year or two.
5. Employment and Labor Laws
If you are planning to hire employees, this is one area of law you need to know. There are federal and state employment standards that you need to abide by.
There’s FLSA, FMLA, EOC, ADA, and Worker’s Comp. Is your head spinning yet? These acronyms just scratch the surface of what you need to know.
FSLA is the Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal law that oversees minimum wage and overtime laws. Most states have a minimum wage that’s higher than the federal standard, so you need to know both.
FMLA is the Family Medical Leave Act, which gives employees up to 12 weeks of medical leave without losing their job.
The Equal Opportunity Commission works to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity for a job. Worker’s Comp. is insurance that you need to have in case an employee gets hurt on the job.
6. Business Licensing Laws
As you start your business, you’ll need to have a proper business license to operate. This is one confusing area of business law because there is no set standard.
It will vary from municipality to municipality. You don’t want to get caught opening a business without a license.
You can learn about your laws by contacting your local government. You can also use resources like your local chamber of commerce and the Small Business Administration office.
7. Environmental Laws
Some businesses like healthcare or manufacturing will have to know environmental laws. There are laws on the books that deal with disposing of hazardous waste and keeping the air clean.
Some of the business laws include the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Federal Insecticide, and the Fungicide & Rodenticide Act
8. Healthcare Laws
Do you need to provide health insurance to your employees? That depends. That’s why you need to know about the Affordable Care Act.
If you have 50 or more employees, you do need to provide health insurance to your employees. If you have fewer than 50 employees, you can offer insurance through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).
Protect Your Business by Knowing Business Laws
You worked hard to start and build your business. You should protect it by understanding how you could be in legal jeopardy.
You don’t need to be an attorney, but you do need to know the various business laws and how they apply to your business. For every action you take in your business, you have to assume that there’s a legal implication.
Everything from using images for a blog post to hiring employees requires some legal knowledge. If you’re ever in doubt about business laws, don’t assume anything. Check out the directory and contact a business lawyer.