Every business, no matter how small or large, operates within a legal environment. For large corporations, that means having to maintain a staff of in-house lawyers to make sure all the many rules, regulations, and laws are fully attended to. Knowing the types of lawyers you need to consider will depend greatly on the niche and needs of your specific business. Staying compliant is about profit because fines and penalties can take a huge financial toll.
There’s also the matter of facing a forced shutdown, getting licenses revoked, or possibly dealing with criminal charges in extreme circumstances of non-compliance. Brokerage firms, transport companies, banks, manufacturing concerns, and other segments of the commercial world must learn to comply with numerous laws in order to remain in business. In addition to child labor laws, corporations deal with issues like strict transport regulations, detailed tax reporting guidelines, restrictions on certain kinds of products and services, and onerous rules about how to advertise in an ethical and legal way.
Businesses and the Law
Here are some of the most prevalent ways that business owners stay on the right side of the law by complying fully to their industries’ regulations.
Age Related Labor
Since the early 1900s, there have been detailed laws in effect to prevent young people from being forced to work. The child labor laws of the 1920s and after had a profound effect on eliminating some exceptionally harsh practices in factories, offices, and other workplaces. Today, regulators rarely discover widespread disregard for these rules, and there are allowable exceptions for family-owned companies that wish to employ children in the business on a part-time basis.
Transport Fleet Management
Transport companies must constantly deal with legal requirements of operating vehicles on the open road, carrying valuable and sometimes hazardous cargo, and making sure drivers don’t become weary and fatigued while behind the wheel. Those are just a sampling of the reasons that there is a strict ELD (electronic logging device) mandate in every jurisdiction where companies operate. The law sets specific numbers of hours and other conditions on drivers to prevent them from driving in an unsafe manner. The ELD mandates work well because companies comply with them to avoid facing large fines and other legal penalties. Every vehicle must have a working ELD on board in order to record records of duty (ROD) and HOS (hours of service) for every person who drives every vehicle.
Restricted Products and Services
Hundreds of products are illegal to sell, own, transport, buy, or possess. The practical application of these regulations most often involves banned drugs, foods, weapons, and dangerous machinery. Tobacco products are heavily regulated due to their potentially dangerous health effects on people. That’s why, even though they are not illegal, there are age restrictions on purchases in every jurisdiction. Sellers must be licensed and prove their compliance with rules about restricting sales to minors.
Tax Reporting and Financial Recordkeeping
Tax statutes are among the most onerous of all requirements on modern commercial enterprises. Not only do companies have to maintain detailed records about all income, but they must also assemble the data into quarterly filings and send the information to the government. Late filing and insufficient data are enough to evoke a penalty from the taxation authorities.
Deceptive Sales Practices
For more than a century, there have been strict laws on the books about what constitutes a deceptive advertisement or practice. Some bragging is allowed, like statements that “Our candy is the best in the world” and other obviously false statements. But outright deception is usually enough to get an advertiser in trouble. Most large corporations consult legal specialists who comb through ad copy, images and offers to make sure the owners are not getting close to making a deceptive claim.