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

Recently in Business Operations Category

Depending on the size and location of your business, you may have a few windows on the front of your building or hundreds of windows looking out on all sides.

In either case, broken windows at your business can require costly repairs and will likely need to be boarded up in the meantime -- not exactly the look most business owners are going for. Some business owners on Virginia's Eastern Shore are learning this first-hand after the catastrophic explosion of a NASA rocket shattered the windows of several businesses, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Whether it's a sudden explosion or criminal vandalism that shattered your windows, what legal options do business owners have to make repairs? Here are a few you may want to consider:

Construction contractor Vamco Sheet Metals Inc. has settled a sex discrimination case with the EEOC, and for some very good reasons.

In a press release, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported that Vamco will pay out $215,000 to settle allegations of sexual harassment on a project at a Manhattan construction project. Accusations included pretextual firing, assigning women only menial tasks, and denying women a clean place to pump breast milk.

Although the settlement means that Vamco will admit no liability for these allegations, there are three good lessons to be learned from this settlement:

A Minnesota ad agency has come up with a novel way to encourage employees to turn in their timesheets.

Minneapolis-based Colle McVoy has begun offering the company's employees a free pint of beer upon completion of their timesheets, dispensed by a one-of-a-kind machine called the TapServer. The TapServer uses employee RFID cards and custom software to reward on-the-ball employees with a beer of their choice, selected via iPad interface.

But while the TapServer is an impressive bit of technology, is serving employees alcohol on the job a good idea?

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?