Small business owners face many challenges, especially in the beginning. Some of those challenges are the legal issues that can appear, no matter what kind of business you run. Here are the most important ones.
1. Employee dissatisfaction and termination
The most common legal issues that small businesses have to face are connected to the employees of the company. There are many causes for this. For example, your employees may sue you for mobbing, harassment, and other workplace-connected transgressions. Make sure your managers are reliable and trustworthy, so you won’t have to get into plenty of those situations. In addition, make sure your HR department is efficient in dealing with internal problems before they turn into lawsuits. On the other hand, the employees themselves can be not productive enough, or extremely toxic for the office environment.
Firing them, though, opens a whole new can of worms. In developed countries, such as Australia, many European countries, the USA, and so on, the employees have important rights that protect them from wrongful termination. Therefore, if an employee deserves to be let go, make sure you have all the necessary records and documentation – and have a talk with your legal department or contact your lawyer just in case.
2. Immigration issues
This is another problem connected to your staff. A huge number of people from developing countries flock to the countries that can offer them a better life. Unfortunately, some of those people decide to do so illegally. Using illegal labor can put you in some serious trouble, so make sure you do thing by the law.
Make sure their visas are genuine and keep records of when they expire. If a problem arises anyway, make sure you have the best immigration lawyers on your side, in order to avoid any serious harm to your business. In general, when in doubt, seek professional advice before you take action.
3. Copyright, trademark, and patent issues
The matter of intellectual property is one that many small business owners take lightly. Unfortunately, it is also a matter that can cause you plenty of trouble. Companies can register a patent and wait for years in hope of some other business violating it, in order to get easy money. Therefore, make sure you do thorough research into copyrights, trademarks, and patents before you take action.
Issues with taxes arise for two main reasons: intention and lack of knowledge. There are always business owners who believe that they’ll be the ones who will cheat the system. They may even get away with it for a time. However, sooner or later, the government catches up so the wisest option is not to even go there.
On the other side, there are business owners who have a genuine lack of knowledge about taxes. Different business structures have to comply with different sets of regulations, and it can be a lot to keep up with. To prevent this, make sure you have an excellent accountant, and consult a tax attorney if there is even a shred of doubt about the way you do your taxes.
5. Dissatisfied customers
Dissatisfied customers are the bane of every business. They can spread bad impressions just as easily as the good ones, but they can do more than that – they can sue you if they’re unhappy with your product or service. In the worst case scenario, dissatisfied customers can file a class action lawsuit, if there’s enough of them.
This can seriously harm your image, so make sure you do your best to prevent it. Your customer service should work flawlessly, and take into account any complaints before they turn into something else.
Not all legal issues can be prevented. Still, with the proper practices and a bit of care, you can avoid some of them, and you can learn how to deal with them better.