Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Theranos Charged With 'Massive Fraud' by SEC

The once promising blood-testing company, Theranos, has been charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company, its CEO, and its president were accused of misleading investors and raising hundreds of millions of dollars by making false or exaggerated claims in defiance of the anti-fraud provisions of federal securities laws.

While the SEC is still pursuing its charges against Theranos' former president Ramesh Balwani, the company and CEO Elizabeth Holmes have resolved their charges, with Holmes being stripped of control, among other penalties.

Lyft Sued for Discrimination by Wheelchair Users

When you own and operate a business, it's always important to comply with all applicable small business laws. A new lawsuit filed against Lyft is alleging that the rideshare company is in violation of laws that guarantee equal access to those with disabilities. More specifically, Disability Rights Advocates have filed a class action lawsuit alleging that Lyft "discriminates against people who use wheelchairs by not making available wheelchair-accessible cars in the San Francisco Bay Area."

Can Employers Force Flu Shots on Employees?

Employers can force many things upon employees -- meetings or events where attendance is mandatory or a specific start time each day, just to name a couple. But, you may wonder how far can an employer's control reach? Well, under most circumstances, an employer can force its employees to get a flu shot.

However, note the "under most circumstances" part of that sentence because certain situations may create a case of employment discrimination. For example, according to a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice, a woman in Wisconsin was given the option of getting a flu shot or getting fired, despite the fact that she claimed a religious exemption from the policy.

Filing Bankruptcy Is Too Costly for Small Businesses, Experts Claim

Bankruptcy is an economic safety net that can be a beneficial tool for an individual or a business that's in debt. But, a panel of bankruptcy experts, claim that it's often too expensive for small businesses to file for bankruptcy. Thus, these experts, which includes lawyers from all over the U.S., urged members of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee "to change the rules to give small businesses a better shot at survival by filing for Chapter 11 protection."

What to Do If Patent Trolls Threaten Your Business With a Lawsuit

Patents, and other forms of intellectual property, are meant to encourage creativity and innovation. That's why if you suspect that someone has infringed on your patent, you have the option of filing a lawsuit against that person. However, there are entities -- referred to as patent trolls -- that make money by suing or threatening to sue businesses for patent infringement.

Firing People Over Sexual Orientation Is Illegal, Circuit Court Rules

It's time to add another reason to the (lengthy) list of reasons why businesses shouldn't discriminate against LGBT workers. Besides turning off customers and courting controversy, it's now illegal under federal law in New York, Connecticut, and Vermont. There's a reasonable chance that the U.S. Supreme Court could soon extend that decision nationwide as well.

Casino Changes Policy to Check Hotel Rooms Every 24 Hours

Caesars Entertainment will check guests' hotel rooms every 24 hours even with a 'do not disturb' sign on the door, under a newly announced policy. The company, one of the largest casino operators in the world, joins a growing list of hotel and casino operators that have taken similar steps following last October's mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This raises familiar questions for balancing guest security and business liability against guests' privacy interests. So what does it mean for other business owners?

Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Liquor License?

Starting a business takes time, money, and knowledge of not only the area of business that you'll be engaged in, but also of laws and regulations that apply to your type of business. For example, most businesses are required to obtain various licenses and permits in order to legally operate in a particular area. Additionally, if a business is looking to sell alcohol, it will need to obtain a liquor license.

Lawsuit Claims Vice Media Pays Women Less

Vice Media, which operates the Viceland cable channel, is the latest company to face allegations of discrimination against female employees. Elizabeth Rose, a former employee of Vice Media, has filed a lawsuit against the company alleging that Vice Media discriminates against its female employees by "systematically and intentionally paying them less than their male counterparts."

The complaint alleges that as part of her job, Rose received internal memos showing the salaries of approximately 35 Vice Media employees, which showed that women "made far less than male employees for the same or substantially similar work."

Can Your Company Avoid Biometric Privacy Lawsuits?

Biometrics has been all the rage the last few years, offering a good way to ditch your "Password1" password for something uniquely identifiable and entirely yours. Businesses have increasingly adopted biometrics to replace tickets, employee ID badges, time clocks, and customers struggling to remember a password before purchasing a product.

So what's the catch? Recently, there's been a rise in class action lawsuits alleging companies are misusing biometric data belonging to patrons, employees, and more. It's gotten some business facing unwelcome attention and potential legal liability as a result.