Free Enterprise - FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog


If your business conducts cash transactions, you've probably had to wait for countless customers to count out exact change to the very last penny. You may have even had plenty of customers pay an entire bill in loose change. While this can be annoying, most business owners would agree that getting paid in cash, coin, credit, or check, is still getting paid, and is still a good thing. There are, however, rare circumstances, like this attention-seeking grown man-child, where allowing a customer or debtor to pay in coinage just seems horribly inefficient.

Fortunately for private businesses, there is no federal law that mandates what type of currency a private business must accept. And according to one source, there are no states that have a blanket requirement that businesses must accept cash or coin. Just like a business can refuse to accept big bills, they can refuse coinage as well.

What to Include in a Startup Prenup

It's never a good idea to partner up with a colleague or family member based on a handshake and your word. Just ask the lawyers who get tasked with sorting out the mess after the partnership hits an iceberg and sinks. If you consult an attorney before entering a partnership or starting a business with one or more other people, the most important thing you'll be told is to put the agreement in writing.

The current trend for startups to get a prenup is nothing new. The only new part of this trend is calling the written agreement a prenup. It has always been advisable to make sure any partnership agreements are in writing. But what you need to include in your agreement can vary depending on who you'll be working with, what you'll be working on, and how you'll be making or spending money.

A few months ago, the Obama Administration announced efforts to crack down on predatory payday loan companies, attempting to impose some of the underwriting requirements and lending restrictions as regular loans. Payday lenders, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said, take advantage of consumers by giving them short-term loans with astronomical interest rates, then charge penalty fees and threaten bank account closures and vehicle seizures if customers can't pay.

And it seems like even the "good guy" payday lenders are behaving badly. San Francisco-based LendUp has agreed to pay $6.3 million in fines for charging customers illegal fees, miscalculating interest rates, and telling customers that borrowing from LendUp would boost their credit score.

In a two day sweep, investigators for the California Labor Commissioner issued $682,344 in fines to 18 different Los Angeles based garment manufacturers. Over $600,000 of the fines were issued against 6 different garment makers for failing to maintain workers' compensation insurance.

California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su warned, in the agencies press release last week, that the California Labor Commissioner "will shine a light on the underground economy and those who contract with unregistered contractors will also be held accountable." While no big-name clothing companies were named, it is not uncommon for major brands to contract out the manufacturing of their product lines.

If you pay attention to legal issues small businesses face, you've probably seen a lot of headlines recently about startups getting sued. Is this just a function of more startup business in the market? Or are startups especially susceptible to litigation?

Here's a look at five startups that have been sued recently, and the lessons you can take from the lawsuits.

If your small to medium-sized business is handling confidential medical information for clients or patients, you should know that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Civil Rights will now start investigating data breaches involving less than 500 individuals. According to the announcement by HHS last month, regional OCR offices will now have the discretion to prioritize investigations of small to mid-sized health care organizations that handle, process, or possess information protected by HIPAA.

If your healthcare related business handles information or documents covered under HIPAA, apart from ensuring compliance with the law, there are a few things you can do to avoid being investigated due to a data breach.

Starting a company isn't just opening the doors, cutting a ribbon, and getting to work. There are a lot of legal i's to dot and t's to cross, and, like any legal process, that can create a slew of paperwork. So how do you figure out which documents are essential and which may only slow your startup down?

Here are five standard legal document your startup will need, and why.

If you're struggling to save money and survive, you are not alone. Many of the country's small businesses are essentially living month-to-month.

A new study from the JPMorgan Chase Institute showed that the average small business has just 27 days worth of cash reserves. So what is life like for small businesses living on the financial edge?

The Improving Small Business Cyber Security Act of 2016 is aimed at getting aid and resources to small businesses to improve their cybersecurity, and the bill is scheduled to come up for a vote in the House of Representatives today. While its passage is not guaranteed, the bill could have a huge impact on the tools and data available to your small business to keep it safe from hackers, data breaches, and other cybersecurity threats.

Here's a look at the Small Business Cyber Security Act and what it could mean for your company.

If you haven't noticed, marijuana laws in this country are changing rapidly. Four states have already legalized recreational pot possession, and a slew of others now allow medical marijuana for those with a prescription. And for those with an entrepreneurial mind, changes in the law mean business opportunities.

But just because your state has legalized it today, doesn't mean your weed retailer can open its doors tomorrow. Several states have set up significant barriers to entry into the medical marijuana market, and if you ain't got the dough, you may be out of luck.