Free Enterprise - FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog


You have a great idea for a business. You may even have found a great location. Everything's going great until your local, state, or even federal government passes a law making your business illegal.

Although the last thing that small business owners need is something new to worry about, changes in the law can have an effect on your business. This is especially true in new or emerging areas of commerce, as those looking to capitalize on Washington State's new marijuana legalization laws are finding out the hard way.

So what can you do if your business becomes illegal?

For small business owners, contracting with a local, state, or federal government agency can be a potentially lucrative opportunity.

In 2013 alone, federal contracts awarded to small businesses resulted in more than $83 billion in revenue. But there are, of course, potential bad sides to contracting with government agencies.

Here are three ways a government contracting deal can go sour:

Employing temporary or "temp" workers can often be a great way to fill vacancies in your business, but you'll need to get your legal ducks in a row.

Temps are often hired through staffing or "temp" agencies and may not be actual employees of your business. However, many companies have instituted temp-to-hire policies in which an employee has a short-term contract with that company which may lead to a full-time position.

These are but some of the legal concerns when employing temp workers, but these five legal reminders can help keep your business on the up-and-up:

With Labor Day approaching, business owners may want to take a moment to make sure they're complying with state and federal labor laws. Not only will abiding by these laws provide a safe and fair work environment, but it can also save your company from costly labor suits.

So while your employees prepare for a three-day Labor Day weekend, examine whether your business is ignoring these five labor laws:

A recent NLRB decision may have employers scratching their heads as it seems to prohibit business owners from firing employees for telling customers that the food they prepare might make patrons sick.

A Minnesota Jimmy John's sandwich franchise has been ordered to rehire workers that had put up posters "suggesting sandwiches were made by sick workers, calling their protests protected speech." According to Inside Counsel, these posters were part of a 2011 protest in response to refusal by management to give employees paid sick days.

How can your business legally deal with these types of protests?

One of our previous posts looking at the best cities for women entrepreneurs by and large generated the expected results: San Francisco, New York City, Houston, Denver, etc.

But a recent report on the best overall states for women-owned businesses had a somewhat more surprising winner, reports Slate. While large states like California may have the greatest number of female business owners, it turns out that, in terms of growing economic clout, women are currently making it happen in... North Dakota.

How did the "Peace Garden State" manage to pull it off?

With the NFL's regular season starting soon, it's not just players and coaches who are getting ready. The millions of Americans who play Fantasy Football are also prepping, researching players for upcoming drafts and joining leagues made up of friends, or in many cases, co-workers. According to Forbes, these office fantasy football leagues may offer a golden opportunity for business owners to connect with their employees on a more personal level.

How can fantasy football pay off your office, and what potential downsides should you look out for?

Employers have many options with respect to guns, and the decision to bar or welcome them into a business should not be made lightly.

To make crafting your small business' policy on firearms easier, you should be aware of your legal rights with regard to welcoming or turning away gun carriers. Fox Business reports that some business owners are even promoting events like "Second Amendment Wednesday," attempting to lure in patrons with guns.

But before you start offering 50 percent off for carrying a .45, check out these three legal considerations for your business' stance on guns:

Whether your're already facing employment issues or you're are trying to avoid them by getting your legal ducks in a row, you may be considering hiring a lawyer who focuses on employment law for businesses.

But what should you know before you do? A lawyer will have plenty of questions for you at an initial consultation; you should be sure to have a few of your own to ask as well.

Here are five questions you may want to ask when hiring an employment lawyer for your business:

Barnes & Noble had to swallow a bitter pill in federal court on Monday, when a federal appeals court held that the retailer couldn't enforce legal provisions buried behind a link hidden on its website -- also known as a "browsewrap" agreement.

Almost every major company has an arbitration provision included in its website's Terms of Use, and B&N was no exception. However, as The Recorder reports, the onus is on the business to give notice of these terms. Consumers aren't likely legally bound by terms which are not conspicuously presented to them.

Though this new ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals technically only affects states within the circuit, it offers some insight as to what courts are looking for when it comes to "browsewrap" agreements. Here are three things business owners need to know: