Free Enterprise - FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

The key to an effective workforce is often a happy workforce. But how do you know if your workforce is happy?

Many companies are surveying their employees to gauge happiness, satisfaction, and engagement. But these surveys are not without their pitfalls, legal and otherwise. Here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your employee surveys are effective and legal.

As any small business owner knows, getting easy access to credit can be a challenge. You've already hit up friends and family for a business loan and the time and paperwork involved in applying for a bank loan are just too daunting. But like most challenges these days, the Internet is here to help.

More and more businesses are foregoing traditional bank loans and instead turning to online lenders to meet their cash needs, mostly because access to capital can be quicker and more convenient. But is there a price to pay? Here are three things you should know about online lenders:

Popeyes fired a pregnant woman victimized in a robbery because she wouldn't pay for it.

A pregnant shift manager, at a Texas Popeyes location, was held at gun point by a burglar who demanded money from the restaurant's safe. The manager claimed that she could only open the cash register. Normally, there would not be much money in the cash register, but the manager claimed that the restaurant had been busy. The burglar got away with $400.

Remember the good old days when angry customers bluster and threatened to tell all their friends about how unhappy they are with your service? You weren't too worried back then. How many people could they possibly tell?

With the growth of Yelp, social media, and other online review sites, unhappy customers now have a much wider audience to air their disappointments to. And, those reviews stay online forever!

So, how is a company supposed to protect its reputation? Respond to every bad post? Seethe in silence? Or, maybe you can have clients sign a non-disparagement clause! Is that legal?

While we all want to find the best talent to work in our businesses, we also want to keep our interviews legal. And walking the fine line between effective and legal interview can be tough.

Now that you've been warned the illegal questions to avoid in a job interview, including the questions you can't ask female applicants, what about the questions you can and need to ask?

Here are five questions that are essential for any effective and legal interview:

Ah the selfie stick. It was named one of the 25 best inventions of 2014 by TIME last year.

Despite its popularity and obvious amazing-ness, the selfie stick has been feeling a lot of hate lately. It's being banned at concert venues, museums, and even at Apple's World Wide Developers Conference. Admittedly, selfie sticks can be a hazard in enclosed crowded areas and among priceless art and artifacts.

With so many places banning selfie sticks, can your business do the same?

Now that you've submitted your tax filing to the IRS, what do you do with your copy of the paperwork? What about the filing for last year and the year before? How long should you keep your business's tax records?

While the IRS has its own recommendation, there are a few other considerations you might want to take into account before sending your old return paperwork through the shredder.

When an employee leaves on good terms, most employers are happy to give them positive reviews when a future employer calls for references. When the parting is on no-so-good terms, well, that makes the reference decision not-so-easy.

Most employers are wary of speaking ill about their former employees, especially when they run the risk of a defamation lawsuit. Of course you can always choose not to respond to reference requests, but how can employers provide negative references and avoid getting sued?

Yelp reviews are a blessing and a curse for businesses. Great reviews bring more customers. False or fake reviews don't only hurt your business' reputation, but they're also downright infuriating. It's unfair that these lies about your business are online for the whole world to see!

So, how should you respond to a false or fake yelp review?

Good business means keeping costs low and earnings high to maximize profits. However, sometimes business practices can be too efficient, and workers are hurt by that efficiency.

One of those harmful business practices is on-call scheduling. New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is now investigating 13 large retailers, including Gap, Target, and Abercrombie & Fitch, for on-call shift practices that may violate the state's reporting time pay laws. The investigation comes after the office received complaints from workers who have been sent home early from shifts, told not to come in to work while already on their way to work, or who have to call in hours before their shift to see if they are scheduled to work.

Here are three things business owners should know about the law regarding on-call shifts: