Legal issues are something no business wants to deal with, and usually, business owners will do everything in their power to avoid them. The problem is that you can’t have control over everything that happens in and around your business at all times. There are cases where issues become inevitable, and you have to deal with them. The best thing you can do right now is be prepared for them so you can have a chance at preventing them or react better if they do occur. Let’s take a look at some of the most common legal issues small business owners face.
Choosing the Wrong Business Structure
This is one of the most common ones and can have disastrous consequences. Not knowing that your personal assets are exposed is something some owners only find out once they’re being sued. Choosing the wrong business structure could affect everything from taxes, raising capital, or bringing in outside investors.
This is why small businesses should work with a business lawyer the minute they get started and before they make things official. If you want to know how much you can expect to pay for one, we suggest you check out Advancepoint’s article.
Harassment and Discrimination Cases
These cases are tough because they aren’t always under your control. If someone ends up being harassed or feels discriminated against, then they might decide to take legal action, and you may be part of the lawsuit as well. They may allege that you knew about the situation and didn’t do enough to stop it or reprimand the culprits.
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There’s also the possibility that an employee of yours directly accuses you of harassing them or discriminating against them. If you are guilty, then you will have to face the consequences. If you aren’t, you will need to prepare to fight the case and also take the steps necessary to protect your public image and your brand.
The best thing you can do here is to start taking these cases seriously if you aren’t already. Have a way for people to reach you and make anonymous complaints. Pay attention to repeated complaints about certain individuals. Also, make sure that you have fair hiring practices, and make sure that you hire fair managers as well.
Intellectual property issues are also very common and can take many forms. You might be accused by another company of copying one of their designs or processes. Or you may get a cease-and-desist letter from someone claiming that you used images on your website or marketing material without their permission. These can go from pesky to potentially ruining your business, and you always have to stay vigilant to make sure that you aren’t infringing on someone else’s intellectual property. You have to take steps to protect yours as well.
These are just some of the legal issues small business owners need to be prepared to deal with. The best thing you can do is consult a lawyer early who’ll be able to explain the legal side of your particular line of business.