There are lots of legal issues present in the business world. This is because it’s such a big world, there’re many things that could happen. You also have to remember you’re dealing with many different parties at all times. There’s employees, customers, not to mention banks and other people who finance your business. All this can lead to a number of legal problems.
I’m here to take you through some of the most common legal issues in business today. If you’re thinking of starting a new business, then you should pay close attention. Knowing about these things can be of great help to you in the future.
You could probably write an entire article just on the employment issues in business. You’ll find there are lots of legal things that surround employees. For starters, there are the regulations you must go by when hiring someone. Potential employees need to pass all the legal checks before you can hire them. Most notably, do they have the right to work in your country? If they can’t provide documentation proving their right to work, you can’t hire them. You also have to check that they haven’t lied about previous work or their qualifications. This requires you to get past references and have the qualifications checked. If you find that they’re lying, then this is essentially fraud.
Then you have the issues with employees in the workplace. Employees have a lot of rights, and it doesn’t take much to breach them. If you make an employee unhappy, they can do something about it. Before you know it, you have a strike on your hands and trade unions calling you up. A common cause of unhappiness at work is payment. If your workers feel underpaid, they have ways to make their voices heard. It can turn into a big legal battle just trying to solve this case.
Another common issue is that of discrimination or assault at work. If one of your employees discriminates/assaults a fellow employee, you’ll have a legal issue on your hands. It’s likely there’ll be a hearing and you’ll need employment tribunal advice to learn how to deal with this issue. Solving a legal problem like this is important as it can tarnish your reputation.
With so many competing business out there, there’s bound to be similarities. There’s nothing illegal about two companies conducting the same business. You see it everywhere, think about how many coffee franchises are around! The problem comes when there’s blatant copying from one business.
If you’ve come up with a business idea and patented it, no one can legally copy it. So, if you start your business only to find a new business opens up with the exact same idea, it’s an issue. If you’ve legally claimed the idea as your own, they can’t steal it. As a result, you’ll have a case against them. You can sue the business for copyright and even get it shut down.
That was a very extreme copyright scenario. Another example would be if you’ve trademarked a name for a product, but someone then steals the name. Again, if this happens, you can take legal action against them.
You must remember that there are many legal issues that revolve around customers. Most of these will centre around a common theme; customer dissatisfaction. If a customer isn’t satisfied with something, it’s within their rights to complain. The seriousness of the issue will depend on the complaint. Some are silly and don’t require any legal action at all. Some are very serious and will be dealt with as such.
When you sell something, you have to make everything clear. The customer has to know exactly what they’re getting. There should always be a clear description of your product/service. If the customer pays for something, and it doesn’t meet the description, you’re in trouble. It’s illegal to say you’re selling one thing, but then sell something different. A customer can submit a complaint, and you’ll have a case to answer. The easy thing would be just to refund the customer and not do it again. But, some companies are repeat offenders and don’t refund customers in this situation. The customer can then take legal action and sue the company. You don’t want a lawsuit on your hands, so don’t wrongly sell things.
The financial side of a business is very complex. If you aren’t an expert in the field, it will be very confusing to you. I know it’s likely that a lot of you aren’t financial experts. So, I’m going to try and explain some of these issues in simple terms.
When you own a business, you have to pay tax. All businesses are taxed differently depending on how big they are, what they do, etc. You can’t avoid tax, it’s inevitable. It’s against the law for your business not to pay tax – you have to do it. If you don’t pay tax, then you’re going to end up with financial services knocking at the door.
Another financial issue is to do with your business accounts. If you’re hiding money and illegally balancing your books, then that’s wrong. You always have to make a note of any business expenses. You can’t use a business account to pay for a new speedboat. If you do, it has to be noted down. It’s likely that you’ll then be forced to pay for it with your own money, instead of with your business’s. Stuff like this is illegal because lots of businesses are financed. This means they’ve either had loans or people have invested in them. So, you can’t use your business money to pay for personal items, because it’s not all your money!
Getting to grips with business law can be very tough. But, you need to do it. You need to know what’s legal and what isn’t. You also have to know where potential legal issues can arise. If you can understand the law, it will be easier to run a business. Plus, there’s less chance your business will do anything illegal.