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

Recently in Business Operations Category

Starbucks employees can now show off their tattoos at work after a change in Starbucks' customer-facing tattoo policy.

Before the switch, baristas and other workers who were dealing with Starbucks customers would have to cover their tattoos, resulting in lots of sweaty dudes in long sleeves. Now, Forbes reports that Starbucks has lifted this workplace tattoo embargo, allowing all inked skin to breathe free -- except face tattoos.

Should your company drink the Koolaid pumpkin spice latte and follow Starbucks' lead?

Apple and Facebook recently began offering to pay for female employees to freeze their eggs, a procedure that typically costs at least $10,000.

NBC News reports that the two tech giants may be attempting to compete for top female talent by allowing women who work for them to put their reproductive choices on ice. Covering the costs of egg freezing may allow female employees to pursue their careers without sacrificing their fertility, and Apple and Facebook are leading the way.

Before you worry about your company's fertility coverage, here are three questions employers may be asking about this egg-freezing benefit:

You may think that noncompete clauses are reserved for high-salaried employees and executives, but they can be used for hourly workers too.

Take employees of the sandwich chain Jimmy John's, for example. In an employee agreement obtained by The Huffington Post, it seems at least one Jimmy John's franchisee in Illinois prevents its workers from working at any business that makes a dime on selling subs... for two years after employment!

Its understandable that business owners don't want their employees leaving to support the competition, but how far can these noncompete agreements go?

Companies have mostly moved past cold calling and have focused more of their marketing efforts on email. But the federal CAN-SPAM Act sets boundaries on what businesses can and cannot do with respect to blasting emails at their customers.

Your business may be worried about seeming spammy, but it should be more worried about the FTC bringing down the hammer if you violate federal law.

So does your email marketing campaign violate the CAN-SPAM Act?

Businesses can do a few things to legally patrol the conduct of their customers, and some employers may be wondering how to make their workplace a "no-selfie" zone.

Selfies are so ubiquitous that even monkeys are taking them, but the law can protect your business from becoming a chaotic breeding ground of chattering narcissists.

Check out these ways your business can become a "no-selfie" zone:

As an employer, you may believe that having your employees sign "faith statements" is an efficient way of guaranteeing that your workforce agrees with your religious views.

A statement of faith may appear like a simple contractual agreement, asking an employee or applicant to sign off on the religious beliefs of an organization. However, depending on the legal status of your business, it may not be legal to ask or force employees to sign such faith statements.

So when is it legal to make employees sign religious "faith statements"?

Legal marijuana has proved perilous for some Washington state retailers, just not in a way that any of them probably would have guessed.

Three pot stores in the state have reported incidents in which glass bottles of marijuana-infused soda have exploded on shelves, Seattle's KOMO-TV reports. The soda, a sparkling pomegranate soda called "Legal" and produced by Washington's Mirth Provisions, was pulled from shelves. But now retailers must navigate the state's strict guidelines for tracking and destroying marijuana products.

What's causing the explosions, and why do retailers need to be cautious when it comes to potentially defective products?

Age discrimination claims are an increasingly common source of employment litigation.

According to a report last year by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, age discrimination claims filed with the EEOC have increased by 38% since 2006. Age discrimination suits are also making headlines: News network CNN was sued this week for $5 million by a former producer who claims he was discriminated against and wrongfully terminated, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

In the event that your business is hit with an age discrimination claim, what defenses may be available?

A dining area diaper-change at a Chipotle is generating headlines and polarizing supporters on both sides of this somewhat messy issue.

A man and his family were eating at an unidentified Chipotle restaurant where his wife took the couple's 16-month old daughter to the restroom for a diaper change, reports The Consumerist. Discovering that the bathroom had no changing table, the mom decided to change her child's diaper on top of one of the restaurant's tables. After being admonished by employees, the child's father began an angry letter-writing campaign to Chipotle HQ, forwarding a copy to The Consumerist, and setting off a firestorm of online coverage.

What can this somewhat unappetizing incident and the subsequent back and forth between the aggrieved couple and Chipotle teach business owners? Here are three potential lessons:

When your employees want to take a sick day, can you require them to give proof that they were sick?

With mandatory sick laws being passed in various cities and states, business owners have real reason to re-examine their sick day policies. Chief among these considerations is what kind of proof, if any, companies should require of their employees in order to take sick time off.

Let's examine some of the legal principles behind requiring proof for sick days.