By Nigel Hilton
As a small business owner, you are subject to numerous risks and threats to your company. The last thing that you need is to be at the centre of a legal storm, but this is exactly what could happen unless you take the right measures to reduce these risks. Though the individual threats vary from company to company, there are a few common themes running throughout. Let’s look at a few of these in more detail here.
Some of the most common issues centre on employees, particularly ones who have become disgruntled or otherwise upset by your way of doing things. Employees have a lot of protection when it comes to the law, and you want to ensure that your company is fully up to speed with all of these issues. You may need to contact an employment attorney or in some circumstances a probation lawyer nearby. Issues around hiring and firing are often the big ones that employers get into difficulty about.
Discrimination and Harassment
Discrimination and harassment are two very common workplace problems, and you need to be taking steps to reduce these issues wherever you see them. One of the best ways of reducing this risk is by speaking one to one with your employees on a regular basis, asking them about whether or not they have witnessed any incidents. Having an HR professional working at the company can really help you out or you can outsource this particular task.
Proper background checks are important for all employees as the last thing you need to happen is to get into hot water of employing people illegally. Not only will you be hit with penalties, you could end up losing vital members of your workforce. Again, recruitment is an area that can be dealt with by HR so this is another reason to turn to them.
Copyright and Patent Problems
If you have created and sell your own product, you need to ensure that you have the proper copyright and patent so you aren’t at risk of a lawsuit. Realistically, this should all be taken care of during the product development phase of your business. Similarly, you should ensure that you have all the proper licensing for the materials that you distribute including image rights etc.
If you needed another reason for keeping your customers satisfied, the risk of a lawsuit is quite a motivating one! Class action lawsuits are a threat if you sell faulty products, services or make false promises. To combat this, you should be speaking to your customers on a regular basis, finding out if they have any issues or ways in which you can improve the level of service that you are providing for them. Anything you can do to deal with problems before they escalate to going to court can only be a good thing!
Protect your business against legal risks as a company by taking preventative measures and speaking to professionals when needed.