Business Law Problems
Starting and setting up a new company may most often be both frightening and exciting. There are numerous administrative items to take into consideration. These will include company location and size, legal requirements, employees, capital, finances and employment legislation among others. These major undertakings bring about concerns and anxieties: “Will I be successful?” To ensure success in both the short and medium term, here are some administrative items to consider.
Legislation on setting up a company
To ensure success in business, it is greatly important to be fully aware of the requirements, regulations and aspects involved in setting up and operating a company. Although these legal regulations are often changed, many state agency legislations include:
The first step is to register a company’s business name. File with the relevant state division of corporations, the articles of organization for the company and obtaining the operating agreement. One can also apply to have the company name reserved in advance.
Legislation requires the one to apply for a federal identification number for tax reporting purposes. This is done with the US internal revenue service IRS. An employer identification number (EIN) is issued.
After obtaining the federal tax ID, it is equally as important to obtain permits and tax IDs from the state revenue agency for covering obligations like income, sales and employment taxes.
The final administrative item would be to obtain licenses and permits to legally operate the company. If the company falls under the supervision and regulation of a federal agency, a federal license is required.
This administrative item mainly deals with the employer- employee relations. A body of regulatory legislations and laws has been formed and developed over time. This addresses and governs the rights of employers and employees in the work place. Employment legislations involve the following acts:
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This prohibits all employers from private, labor unions, employment agencies, local and state governments from discriminating against otherwise qualified people with disabilities in job procedures such as applications, compensation, hiring, training, career advancement, firing among other privileges, terms and conditions of employment. It also applies under section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act to employees in the federal sector. To run a successful business in the short or medium term, one must fully comply withthis act.
National origin/ ethnic, religion, color, race and sex discrimination. With the utmost goal of starting and operating successful company, there are many acts, federal compliance programs, civil rights act and labor laws that are in place to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race and ethnicity. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 in title VII forbids discrimination in discharge, promotion, hiring, job training and other employment aspects on the basis of national origin, race, color and religion. Other acts include (WIA) Workforce Investment Act of 1998, section 188. This section prohibits discrimination also on basis of the age and political affiliations. The Civil Rights Center enforces these laws.
These are everyday issues one has to deal with in running a company. Sensitive as they are, laws and legislations are in place to offer protection to employer as well as the employee.
In dealing with administrative items of running a company, wages, salaries and compensation is another area one has to get right in the business. These areas are covered in the Fair Labor Standards (FSLA) which establish standards for overtime pay, minimum wages and child labor.
For any work environment one has to deal with issues regarding sex and gender equality in all aspects of running a business. It is illegal to discriminate when it comes to hiring, firing, promotions, advancement based on gender. Equal opportunities are to be accorded to both men and women provided they have the necessary qualification. These include discrimination based on pregnancy provided for in (EEOC) equal employment opportunity commission.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is covered by the employment legislation. Federal laws in this regard can be found under the 1964 Act of Civil Rights. The Act was amended in 1991 where the title VII of the Act allows sexual harassment victims to sue for damages.
Employment legislation also seeks to ensure work place health and safety for workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) is meant to protect workers’ rights against hazardous working environment. OSHA officers follow up on any complaints raised by employees regarding work place safety.
Contract of employment
This agreement which is bound by the labor code, seeks to define clearly the expectations between the employer and employee. The specifics within the contract vary from state to state and are tailored to the specific laws and regulations of the specific state jurisdiction.
The contract addresses detailed issues like type of employment, duties of an employee, extent of work hours, the employee benefits and termination from eitther party or restrictions. These restrictions include a non-compete agreement, Non-solicitation agreement and a confidentiality agreement.
Non-compete agreement restricts the employee from competing with the employer. This is in effect during the tenure of employment or after termination. Different state contracts offer different durations of these restrictions.
Non-solicitation clause/ agreement aims to restrict the employee from soliciting or luring the employer’s customers, clients or other employees.
The confidentiality clause ensures that the employee has agreed not to share sensitive proprietary information about the company with outsiders. It also restricts the employee not to reveal the company’s trade secrets under any circumstances.
Intellectual property rights
Intellectual property may be generally characterized to mean nonphysical property which is a product of genuine original thought. Like any property it requires protection from unauthorized use. This protection is provided in the following different kinds of intellectual property:
The US patents give exclusive rights to the owner to use the original invention which has to be absolutely new, distinct and prevents anyone else from using it for the legal duration of the patent. In the United States the patent duration from the date of application is usually 20 years. Various types of patents include design and utility patents. Different lines of business have different patent applications. Plant patents are usually found in agricultural sector.
Under the federal trademark registration in the U.S, a trademark gives the owner the exclusive right to use a particular specific design or logo, word or words designation or source of origin in connection with specific goods or services. Trademarks are valid for 10years but if certain requirements are met, they can be renewed. Various states provide their own trademark systems. Federal trademarks apply throughout the USA.
Depending on what operations a company will deal with under the U.S laws, a copyright gives protection to the author of a genuine original copyrightable work. These may include literature, architecture, music, drama and a wide range of works. They are meant to protect the form of expression of the work but not the subject matter. Copy rights are issued by the U.S Copyright Office.
Design patents are designed to protect the use of original, new and ornamental articles of manufacture.
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