Business law affects every company regardless of its size or type of entity. Companies that fail to become familiar with these laws can face stiff penalties or even jail time for non-compliance. Therefore, it is vital to understand which laws apply to your business long before opening the doors.
Business law encompasses many venues including: advertising, privacy, disclosure, copyrights and intellectual property, finance, environmental regulations, uniform commercial code, workplace safety and health, and employment and labor laws.
Advertising law pertains to the way in which products are marketed to the customers. Businesses must comply with laws and regulations established by the Federal Trade Commission when advertising products.
Advertising laws encompass truth-in-advertising, pricing rules, endorsements and testimonials, state, local, and federal advertising laws, and product labeling. Specific requirements must be met by manufacturers and retailers that sell alcoholic beverages, motor vehicles, health and fitness products, computers and Internet services, housing and real estate, and telephone services.
Finance laws are in place to promote fair and open competition while protecting financial interests of investors and business owners. These laws include: securities law, business bankruptcy, and antitrust laws
Intellectual property laws protect inventions, trade secrets, patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Protecting intellectual property is vital for companies that develop products and formulas or offer written or digital content. Digital products such as music, movies, art, and software programs are protected under digital rights laws.
Privacy law requires business owners to engage in procedures that protect their customers' privacy. This includes personal data such as social security number, birth date, home address, banking and credit card information, along with identity theft and children's online privacy.
Companies need to implement internal controls to ensure their customer data is protected at all times. These controls apply to credit card security and personal data, along with complying with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
Operating an Internet business is an exceptional way to increase sales revenue, but also opens companies up to financial liabilities associated with all areas of business law. Business owners must become educated about online advertising laws, copyrights and intellectual property, collecting sales tax, and international sales.
Companies that engage in business transactions outside of their state must comply with guidelines established under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). UCC encompasses laws that govern commercial transactions betweenU.S.states related to the sale of goods, leases, contracts, and borrowing money.
Understanding employment and labor law is critical for any business that hires employees. These business laws include: child labor, household employees, employee discrimination and harassment, terminating employees, severance pay, wage and hour laws, workers' compensation, drug free workplace, and employment posters.
Business owners are responsible for making certain their employees are healthy and protected while at work. Companies must remain in compliance with regulations established by Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Center for Disease Control (CDC), and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Lastly, companies that employ immigrants and foreign workers are responsible for verifying and reporting employee eligibility in accordance with the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). These laws encompass fair employment practices, foreign labor certification, hiring guest workers, and filing no-match letters to the Social Security Administration.
As you can see there are many laws that must be considered when operating a business. It is advisable to retain services from law firms that specialize in business law to ensure compliance is met and to avoid costly fines. Lawyers are also valuable partners that can help owners establish asset protection strategies to shield against lawsuits and creditors. .
At Craton and Switzer, we help entrepreneurs, small business owners, corporations, limited partnership, and limited liability companies establish safeguards to meet or exceed legal business law requirements.
Additionally, we provide informative articles about business law, business succession, succession planning, asset management, and asset protection at our estate planning and trusts blog.