Small Business Business Operations - Free Enterprise
Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog

Recently in Business Operations Category

As any small business owner knows, the world of small business is never boring. And 2014 was no different.

From the Ferguson riots to breastfeeding "nurse-ins," business owners were certainly faced with some new challenges in 2014. At the same time, business owners also continued to seek guidance on some of the more fundamental issues affected SMBs, such as managing employees, FMLA compliance, and customer rights.

FindLaw's Free Enterprise blog touched upon all these subjects and more in 2014. What were the biggest issues for business owners this year? Here are this year's Top 10 most-read Free Enterprise posts:

Whole Foods is being sued by a Massachusetts couple over their son's death after he allegedly ate tainted beef that was purchased from the store.

Melissa and Andrew Kaye filed suit in federal court in Boston on Tuesday, alleging that the grass-fed beef purchased at a Whole Foods Market led to their 8-year-old son's death from E. coli in July. The Associated Press reports that Whole Foods issued a recall of ground beef products on August 15 after an investigation by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) into E. coli contamination.

What is a business' liability for this kind of E. coli-related death?

Websites are pretty much a necessity for any business that wishes to remain relevant, and advertising prices on that website can be a good way to draw consumers in.

But what happens if you make an error in advertising your prices online? Is your business guilty of fraudulent advertising or deceptive business practices? Do you need to give a refund?

Here are a few things that can happen if your business lists the wrong prices on its website:

The EEOC has announced that storage and security product manufacturer Justrite will pay $418,000 to settle claims of disability discrimination.

In an EEOC press release issued Wednesday, the agency noted that this settlement was the result of years of investigation into disability discrimination complaints at Justrite, based in Mattoon, Illinois. It resulted in some troubling findings about how the company treated employees seeking reasonable accommodations.

What three lessons can your business learn from this Justrite settlement?

Your small business may not get complaints often, but failing to respond to them properly can be costly.

A Chinese restaurant in Brookline, Massachusetts, got a taste of customer dissatisfaction from a Harvard business professor who claimed he had been overcharged by all of $4. As explains, what followed was an email back-and-forth between the restaurant and the patron -- an exchange that went viral.

Want to make sure your small business deals properly with customer complaints? Check out these five ways:

For most business owners, social media has now become a necessity for interacting with customers. But social media can also quickly become a source of trouble.

Some social media mishaps, like the Florida Chili's restaurant worker who posted pictures of himself posing shirtless in the restaurant's kitchen, can be more embarrassing than serious. But social media is also increasingly subject to regulatory scrutiny: As you may recall, retailer Nordstrom received a warning from the FTC after a company-sponsored "TweetUp" party ran afoul of FTC disclosure rules.

What can you do to avoid legal trouble on social media? Here are five suggestions:

The Supreme Court has determined that Amazon warehouse workers don't have to be paid for time spent in security screenings.

The Court's unanimous decision Tuesday clarifies what federal labor law requires for workers during off-the-clock security checks. According to Reuters, Amazon, CVS, and Apple have all had lawsuits brought against them for unpaid security-screening time, all of which may evaporate in light of this new ruling.

Here are five things your business should know about this Amazon security screening ruling:

A promotional stunt at a New York TGI Fridays restaurant nearly ended when a drone crashed into a photographer, lacerating her nose with its unguarded rotor.

The restaurant was flying the drone as part of a "Mobile Mistletoe" promotion in which the remote-controlled helicopter-style drone was adorned with mistletoe to inspire patrons to kiss on camera, reports Brooklyn Daily. But the holiday cheer was in short supply after one of the drones went out of control and took a chunk out of the nose of a photographer there to cover the event.

As the photographer's injuries did not appear to be serious, the restaurant may have narrowly dodged being involved in a potential personal injury lawsuit. But what lessons should business owners take from this close call with a drone?

Legal Sea Foods, a seafood restaurant chain based in Boston, is facing two class-action lawsuits over its tipping policies.

Those behind the suits feel that Legal Sea Foods violated Massachusetts' state laws on tipping by allowing those who "rolled silverware in napkins" to share in the tips earmarked for servers and bartenders. These workers are paid less than minimum wage and are entitled to a share of the pooled tips, but with the tip law violated, employees are demanding the regular minimum wage -- $8 an hour, reports the Boston Globe.

How can your business legally deal with tips in light of Legal Sea Foods' potentially perilous predicament?

Pirate Brands, the makers of Pirate's Booty, succeeded in having six class-action lawsuits that had been filed against them by the same law firm before being consolidated dismissed this week.

The lawsuits had claimed that Pirate Brands misled consumers by labeling the company's products as "all natural." But the dismissals offer some lessons in how to combat an increasingly common form of class action lawsuit in which lawyers try to drive up the costs of litigation in order to promote a settlement, reports Forbes. These settlements often result in millions of dollars in legal fees for the law firm, but meager damages for class members.

What did Pirate Brands do to help themselves come out on top? Here are three lessons for business owners: