Free Enterprise - FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog


5 Legal Tips for Allowing Pets at Work

It's becoming more commonplace for businesses to allow employees to bring pets to work.

Some studies have shown that employees who bring their dogs to work experience lower levels of stress-causing hormone cortisol, according to USA Today. Other people simply think having their pets around makes the workplace more enjoyable.

But before you allow pets at work, here are some legal tips to consider.

If consumers "like" your brand or business, does that mean they won't be able to sue you?

That's what cereal giant General Mills is attempting to do, by forcing those who "like" them on Facebook, enter sweepstakes, or download coupons to agree to arbitration instead of suing in civil court for any potential legal disputes. The New York Times suggests that even purchasing General Mills products might impose "forced arbitration" on consumers.

Can a similar arbitration policy keep your company's fans from suing your business?

7 Tips for Negotiating a Pop-Up Store Lease

Pop-up stores can be a great, low-cost option for businesses that are just getting started. But much like signing a long-term retail lease, pop-up business owners might need to do some negotiating.

Pop-up store owners in Detroit are learning this first-hand, as many have been testing out the market by renting out small, unused retail spaces for short time periods, according to The New York Times.

So if you're thinking about signing a lease for a pop-up store, here are seven tips that may come in handy for your lease negotiations:

US Airways received an online beating Monday for a tweet that took off and went viral: a pornographic picture posted to Twitter in response to a customer's complaint.

After the customer tweeted @USAirways complaining of a flight delay, the company's social media team attached a NSFW photo of a naked woman aiming a model jetliner toward her private parts. US Airways is calling the incident a "mistake," but it will not be firing the employee responsible, reports Forbes.

Worried about your company's own turbulent tweets? Keep these five lessons in mind to avoid any similar social media snafus:

Should your small business file for bankruptcy? If you find yourself asking this question, you're not alone.

Filing for bankruptcy doesn't necessarily mean throwing in the towel. On the contrary, it may just mean a fresh start for you and your business.

Here are five factors to mull over when deciding if your business should file for bankruptcy:

For Tax Day, here's something for small business owners to consider: Your business could be paying much less in taxes by taking some tips from big corporations.

Some of America's most profitable companies like Apple and Microsoft have effective tax rates lower than 30 percent, as Forbes points out.

So what can you do to effectively lower your small business' tax rate? Here are five ideas that may pay off for you:

Woman Sues Subway Over 'Big Mama' Insult

Fast food chain Subway is being sued by a California woman after an employee wrote "Big Mama" on one of her orders.

Allison Brown, 45, of Murrieta, took the Subway employee's message as an insult. It caused her to "[break] down crying" and to seriously question her appearance, according to Jezebel.

So can businesses be sued for allegdly being rude to customers?

A San Francisco bar is being temporarily shut down for doing something seemingly harmless: charging extra for drinks.

But Dimples Cocktail Lounge isn't being shuttered for 45 days just for raising prices. The bar was charging a surcharge for the personal company of its female servers, reports San Francisco's KPIX-TV.

So when can bars charge a little something extra for their drinks?

Business Lessons From Katherine Heigl's Lawsuit

One of the worst things that can happen to a business is to get caught up in a high-profile lawsuit with a celebrity.

Just ask lawyers and PR managers for Duane Reade, the drug-store chain that's being sued by actress Katherine Heigl for allegedly misappropriating her image on Twitter and Facebook, The Associated Press reports.

While business owners may be eager to boast that celebs use their products or shop in their stores, what legal lessons can you learn from Heigl's lawsuit?

Patent applications can make or break the financial and legal security of your business, so it's important not to make mistakes.

As we mark 224 years since the Patent Act of 1790 was enacted -- setting forth the first patent statute in U.S. law -- try not to make these five common patent application mistakes that may send you back to the drawing board: