Business Laws: What You Need to Know

There are a myriad of things you must think about when opening any type of business whether it is a small business or a large corporation and one of those is how business law may affect you. Failure to pay attention to business and corporate law can land you in a world of trouble-both legal and financial. The good news is that you do not necessarily need to be a graduate of a fancy business law college or have a business law major to brush up on the basic ideas of small business law and corporate business law.

If you’ve paid attention to the headlines lately, you probably know that employment law for business is one of the number one areas where you can get into trouble if you aren’t up on all the employment laws and regulations. There are numerous laws that govern the employment of both regular employees and contract employees. Just for a broad overview, take a look at all the employment business laws you must meet:

· Civil Rights Act of 1966

· The Equal Pay Act of 1963

· Americans with Disabilities Act

· The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986

· The Age Discrimination in Employment Act

· The Equal Employment Opportunity Act

· The Bankruptcy Act

· The Occupational Safety and Health Act

· FMLA, the Family Medical Leave Act

· Employee Polygraph Protection Act Labor Law

· FLSA, the Fair Labor Standards Act

And that’s not even counting the various state employment business laws that might apply to your business! If you aren’t sure of whether you are meeting all the regulations, it’s a good idea to get a checkup for your HR department.

Do you happen to work in the international arena? If you have anything at all to do with international business, then you should be aware of the many ways in which international business law can affect you, your business and your bottom line. At a minimum, you need to make sure that you meet general international business laws, specialized export laws, import laws and any laws of the foreign country in which your business operates.

And what about the business law scene at home? Were you aware that in addition to Federal business law and international business law, you are probably required to meet State business law regulations? Do you know whether you need a business permit or license? Failure to obtain one can result in the shutdown of your business and hefty fines and penalties. This is just one of the ways that state business law, such as California business law, can affect the health of your business if you aren’t careful to stay on top of things.

Finally, what about Internet and online business laws? Were you even aware that there was such a thing? The Internet has exploded so much in the last decade that the government has found it necessary to institute Internet compliance laws. If you operate a website of any kind and do not meet the compliance regulations, that site could be shut down and you could face criminal prosecution and hefty fines.

Of course, no one should ever attempt to navigate the complexities of any type of business law alone and the best course of action is to always seek the qualified professional advice of a business law firm, but hopefully these tips will help you to understand a little bit more about business law requirements.

Summary: When operating a business, regardless of whether it is a small business or a large corporation, you need to be on top of business law compliance. Even if you hire a business law firm, it’s still a good idea to understand what regulations you must meet.

What Is Business Law?

In today’s society, many people are starting new businesses and they need to legally register their company. If a business is not registered, the owners may be breaking the law as they would be accused of running the business illegally. When a company wants to merge with another firm, they should have a written contract which both parties need to sign. These agreements should be drafted by a business lawyer who should guide the firms during the process. Business law covers a wide branch of knowledge across a variety of disciplines.

Business law covers all aspects of trade from the registration of a business to hiring employees and selling goods across the globe. A business may need a lawyer to help with the relevant terms of agreement and sales and present them to the other parties. When a company wants to bid for tender or have a project, the lawyer needs to come up with various proposals to present to the other parties. At times, disputes arise and when there was no binding agreement, the business suffers a huge loss.

There are some companies that do not keep in mind the terms and codes of trade especially within their intentional market. Failing to comply with the law is a serious offense and the company may end up folding as a result. A company should look to hire a lawyer who is aware of the business laws set by the Department of Trade and the lawyer ought to find out how the company performs in their industry without bypassing federal laws.

Business law also covers the partnership aspect of the company. At times, the companies who want to merge but they may still want to maintain their rights and recognition within their market. A good contract should be put in place and both parties should agree to work within the laid down rules and regulations in the contract. Many partnerships have landed in court simply because some codes were not met or the other party had more benefits than the other party did. Some aspects like profits, shares, and investments need to be addressed fully before signing a partnership agreement.

Before someone starts any business, they need to know the codes, laws, and terms of reference. Business law applies to all types of businesses whether it is a corporation, a sole proprietorship, or a company. The law requires that all companies and businesses need to be registered and trade within the law. When someone trades in illegal goods, they are required by the law to stand trial. The codes of trade need to be enforced fully and that every businessman understands what they mean. Business law terms are difficult to understand hence there is sometimes a need to hire a lawyer to interpret the message and ensure that the client know what each business documents entail. At times, some businesses may want to trade with other companies and need advice from their lawyers and other business professionals on the proposed plan. Business law can also cover issues such as privacy, copyright and issues involving tax.

All in all, business law ensures that a company practices in the correct way and that the business runs smoothly and that all the parties involved in the various commerce sectors understand the codes of operation.

Business Laws For Small Businesses

Talking about business laws in microscopic detail would need a couple of months of your time! There is indeed a plethora of legislation that governs small businesses, ranging from state to county laws. Some are relevant to your business even today whereas others are outdated and have not been enforced since the early part of the last century!

It is not possible for any single entity, including your local law enforcement department to know them all. Yet, it is vital that you are familiar with at least the most important laws that pertain to your business. As usual we’re here to help.

Business laws fall into certain categories as listed below:

o Business formation laws – these laws pertain to the structure of the business. For example a sole proprietorship is regulated very differently from a corporation.

o Tax laws comprise laws pertaining to all taxation issues, whether it is the filing of returns or the payment of sales tax, corporate tax and other similar levies.

o Employment laws – these govern recruitment and retrenchment of employees, wages & workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits, workers’ rights and related issues.

o Trademark and patent laws – these laws pertaining to ownership of intellectual property such as inventions, trademarks and patents.

o Environmental laws – Companies engaged in the recycling of material and the discharge of hazardous waste must comply with environmental regulations.

o Consumer protection laws – these protect the consumer from fraud or unfair business or advertising practices.

Headache, already? Here are a few tips to help you deal with it.

One size doesn’t fit all. We just talked about some of the important legal categories under which you will find regulations that affect most businesses. In addition, specific laws may apply depending on the type of activity involved. If, for example, you are selling company stocks you will need to adhere to the Securities Law, but for a medical practice, there’s an entirely different set of rules that come into play. State laws may also dictate how contracts and legal documents are to be written and enforced.

Start at the beginning. Just as you craft a business plan in stages, look at the whole legal puzzle bit by bit. Begin with the laws pertaining to the basics of starting a business. Do you need a business license or a special permit? Are you planning to hire employees or will you go it alone? If your business sells goods, it will need to pay sales tax. Look at each business aspect carefully to understand which category of laws apply to it.

Know only what you need to. If you are in business by yourself, for example, you won’t need to bother with laws governing workers and staff until you are ready to hire additional people. Likewise, if you are in a service business, you typically won’t need to bother yourself with removal of hazardous waste.

See the bigger picture. As your business grows, so will the number of applicable laws. Always examine the legal angle when you plan new projects and initiatives. Also, discuss all potential significant legal matters with your advisor.

Ensure compliance. Be unafraid to ask questions of your legal advisor and do not assume something is legal just because it is a common trade practice. Also talk to the local Chamber of Commerce or other business owners to make sure you are on the right side of the law.

Make amends. Finally, should you find that you’ve contravened a law without intending to, take remedial measures. The law is quite lenient with first time offenders – of course, it also depends on the nature of the violation.

Having to deal with laws and legislation may seem a drag, but there’s no denying their importance. Taking adequate steps to ensure that you have to run into them only as much as you need to!