Free Enterprise - FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Small business owners are protective of their brand. And there is the natural tendency to lash out at anything -- fake online reviews, defamatory comments, or intellectual property theft -- that threatens the integrity of that brand. Heck, even Donald Trump (or more accurately, especially Donald Trump) goes after those he thinks might harm his image.

But sometimes those efforts can backfire, as The Donald himself demonstrated last week, via an ill-advised and subsequently eviscerated cease and desist letter. Let this letter be a lesson to entrepreneurs and small business owner about the limits of defending the brand.

What to Consider When Hiring a Security Guard

It is time to hire some muscle, or you think it might be. But you have never done such a thing and are not even sure what exactly you need to know. In fact, you may not even know how to go about finding a security guard that is appropriate for your business.

Beyond finding and hiring the right person, you also need to figure out the details of your guard's job. There is actually a lot to consider, so let's do that here.

3 Areas of Law That Business People Must Know

You did not go to law school because the law is not your shtick -- business is. But now that you have your MBA framed and up on the wall and your startup has gotten financing, you realize that there is no escaping the law.

Every time you want to do something, hire someone, or strike a deal, legal issues are implicated. There are some areas of business regulation that you simply can't ignore, so let's briefly consider employment, contracts, and taxation.

Some are forced by local, state, or federal law, while others are forced to compete for the best talent, but most small businesses are upping their employee benefits packages, especially when it comes to offering family leave. Employers are offering more time off, more of it paid, and to more of their employees.

So if you're wondering whether expanding your family leave benefits is the right thing to do, or a legal thing you must do, you've come to the right place. Here's what you need to know about family leave and your small business:

CA Lawsuits Target Disparity in Service Pricing for Men and Women

Have you ever noticed that some kinds of businesses charge women more for the same services as men? California lawmakers noticed this a while ago and called for an end to the gender discrimination in pricing for haircuts and other services in 1995.

But the disparity in prices for men and women receiving the same services persists in some places, which is why one woman is suing salons and dry cleaning businesses in Riverside, California. There have been about 11 lawsuits filed since April, the Press Enterprise reports.

Employees Increasingly Suing for Family Leave Discrimination, Study Finds

As an employer you know that you have to allow your employees family leave and you believe you are following all the applicable laws ... or at least you are doing your best. But you should really check that your policy does comply with the patchwork of laws that apply to this topic, lest you find yourself sued.

According to a study by the Center for Worklife Law at the University of California Hastings, lawsuits over family leave issues are on the rise. Employees win about half of these, a much higher proportion than other types of work discrimination cases, reports the Huffington Post. Here's what you need to know.

Not all small businesses can take care of everything in house -- some of us need to subcontract out different pieces of our business, whether that be advertising, construction, production, or distribution. And if you're one of the many small businesses that regularly uses subcontractors, or a small business that regularly acts as a subcontractor, you may want to pay attention to some new federal rules imposing additional obligations on prime contractors and what happens if they fail to satisfy those obligations.

Here's a breakdown of what the Small Business Administration decided, and how it could affect your small business.

Managing the Rising Minimum Wage: 3 Tips for Small Businesses

In recent years, states and even some big cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles have been passing new mandatory minimum wage laws that will be phased in over time. These gradual pay hikes are meant to protect workers, of course, and minimize the strain on employers accommodating the wage increase.

But for small businesses operating on tight margins, even a small mandatory increase spread across all employees can be painful. A raise to workers means increased payroll taxes and potentially other added expenses to the extent your employees receive benefits. Let's consider a few suggestions from Forbes on how to manage a minimum wage increase.

When you own a small business, it's all about income. A classic shop or store may have profits from sales or service. A startup may have venture capital money coming in. In either case, you might need to get a little more creative with your revenue streams. Individuals and investment funds can make money off the stock market, so why not your small business?

But before you start day trading with company funds, here's what you need to know about your small business investing in stocks.

As an employer, you have many responsibilities with respect to workers and employees. You must pay certain taxes and contribute to various state and federal programs, and you must verify the employment authorization of each worker.

In the words of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Employers have certain responsibilities under immigration law during the hiring process." So let's look at your obligations and the penalties you face if you fail to fulfill your duty to the federal government.