Free Enterprise - The FindLaw Small Business Law Blog


EEOC Sues Walmart for Pregnancy Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces federal discrimination laws in the workplace, has filed a lawsuit against Walmart for discriminating against pregnant employees. This suit was filed in Wisconsin, though the EEOC has almost identical class-action claims pending against Walmart in both New York and Illinois, representing thousands of employees.

At issue is whether Walmart can deny pregnant workers paid leave and employee modification requests, such as additional breaks, eliminating heavy lighting, and allowing use of a chair.

When to Sue Counterfeiters

If you come up with a great new product, you want to be the only one selling it. Like if you had to clear all the testing and regulatory hurdles associated with vaporizers and e-cigarettes and adhere to strict age requirements when selling them, and then you see dozens of Chinese entities selling untested counterfeit e-cigs on eBay without a care to underage buyers, you'd probably sue those entities for trademark infringement.

Litigation may not always be the first choice for small businesses that discover someone selling counterfeits of their products, but it may be your last resort. Here's when you might want to think about suing counterfeiters.

Is a Restaurant Liable for a Customer Choking on Food?

Choking is one of the leading causes of accidental deaths, accounting for over 5,000 deaths in 2016. Unblocking an airway within minutes can be the difference between life, death, and extremely impaired quality of life. When choking occurs, time is of the essence, and it's a natural human instinct to want to help. If choking occurs in a restaurant, must the staff help, and if it doesn't, is the restaurant liable?

Facebook Accused of Gender-Based Ad Targeting

Facebook's ad-targeting system has once again landed it squarely in the middle of a Title VII Civil Rights Act claim filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

This time, its ad-based targeting technology allowed employers to exclude women and non-binary users from receiving certain job postings, based on the gender with which the user claimed to identify when they registered for Facebook. In a seemingly clear violation of the Civil Rights Act as well as other federal, state, and local laws which forbid discrimination for job opportunities based on sex, Facebook claims it is innocent, and looks forward to defending its practices.

Most small businesses need a little financial help getting off the ground or out of the garage. And while there are many ways to finance a startup, from angel investors to friends and family, most small biz owners are turning to loans to get their businesses up and running, or get them through a rough patch.

While borrowing a large amount of money for your small business may seem daunting, there are government programs and incentives that can help. Here's some essential legal information you need to know when looking for a small business loan.

Caught on Video Shoplifting From a Cashierless Store: Is This Traffic Cam 2.0?

A customer walks into a store and only sees merchandise. No cashier. No security cop. And about 30 cameras watching his or her every move, using behavioral data, to decide if that customer will buy, steal, or forego that candy bar.

Cashierless stores are the next brainchild in the marriage between self-automation and artificial intelligence. Amazon has opened a few of its cashierless stores, Amazon Go, earlier this year. These stores use a turnstile that quickly calculates all the products in your basket and automatically charges your credit card.

Standard Cognition is the latest entry, but uses a different model in its cashierless stores, dubbed Standard Market. There's no special turnstile, shelf sensors, RFID or packaging changes. The only thing brick and mortar stores need to do is install a bunch of cameras on the ceiling, which appeals to many smaller businesses. These cameras record when customers pick up an item and will only charge for it if the customer doesn't put it back on a shelf before leaving. It is nearly impossible to steal anything, unlike the turnstile, which can be avoided, as many subway station managers know.

Bird Scooters Ordered Out of Santa Cruz and San Francisco

Some companies never learn, and that has led to one grueling week for Bird. They were kicked out of San Francisco and Santa Cruz, California. All because of their mistaken belief that it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Foxconn Hiring 3,000 Veterans in Exchange for Tax Credit

When running a business, keeping costs down and retaining good employees are two of life's major challenges. But what if you could do both at the same time?

Foxconn just announced its plans to launch a military veteran recruiting campaign with 20 stops across the country to help staff its new flat screen manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin. Its goal is to hire 3,000 veterans, and at a potential annual tax benefit of $9,600 per employee per year; that's nearly $29 million per year in tax credits, which are far more valuable than tax deductions.

Interested in these sorts of tax credits for your company? Here's some information on the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) plan.

No, not like an unexciting company; like the Boring Company, Elon Musk's serendipitously-named tunneling company. The same company that just got approval from the Hawthorne City Council to build a shaft from a local residence that would go down to part of the company's tunneling laboratory, a shaft that would one day house an elevator which could lower a car down into the tunnel without leaving the garage.

Pretty exciting stuff, right?

Fiduciary Liabilities Overview for Small Business Owners

Being a small business owner has its challenges, and one of them is caring for employees. But is this care actually a duty? And if so, what kind of care is required?

As a general rule, employers do not owe a fiduciary duty to employees. But wait -- don't stop reading yet! There are numerous requirements of limited fiduciary duty, and violating these can be extremely costly, as in millions of dollars. Limited fiduciary duties to employees reside primarily in the area of employee safety and a duty to be an employer in good conscience.