If you’re opening a new business, you’ll want to be prepared for any legal hurdles your company may face. Before your business opens, there are things you can do to protect your investment, support your employees, and serve your clients. Here are some tips that may help prepare you for legal issues you may face:

Create a Business Plan and Employee Handbook

As you form your company’s framework, you must devise a business plan. This guide will set out the company’s business structure and governing principles. It will clearly explain your company’s mission and governing principles, which will help your employees understand what is expected of them and what actions will not be tolerated.

Obtain Your Business License

Any legal business will need a license. Companies must display the licenses or permits their staff members must obtain. Your business’s type will determine the type of license you must get and its costs. Your local or state authorities can guide you on which licenses are necessary and answer any licensing questions you may have.

Protect Your Business with Insurance

To protect your investment in your business, it’s essential to have commercial insurance. In general, you’ll need liability insurance (for property and products), property insurance (such as fire or flood insurance), workers’ compensation insurance, and commercial auto insurance (if your company uses vehicles.) Liability insurance is the most important, no matter where your business is located. For example, if your business is in Montana, there will be a three-year limit for filing a civil lawsuit or settling a claim against your company.

You expect your employees to work hard for your company and have the right to be treated fairly. Your employee handbook will guide which actions can lead to termination and the process by which termination could occur. Before an employee is terminated, they must be given notice, and the reasons must conform to the standards of the employee handbook. You may sometimes be required to provide the employee with severance pay.

Become Familiar with Discrimination Laws

A prospective employee may file a discrimination claim if they feel they were denied a job due to race, religion, age, disability, or sexual orientation. Part of your company’s Employee Handbook should outline how your company will comply with fair hiring practices. A current employee may feel discriminated against regarding a promotion they didn’t get or an assignment they were given. These matters can become very sensitive, and you can protect your company by including a clear anti-discrimination policy in your Employee Handbook.

Comply With Environmental Protection Guidelines

Part of your responsibility towards your employees includes protecting them against the known hazards of their job. Part of that responsibility will consist of annual safety training for your employees. Any company must be responsible for keeping all the rooms in the workplace clean and safe. Specifically, according to Angi, your company must schedule cleaning of bathrooms and office spaces once a week (just as a homemaker would perform weekly cleaning of their kitchen, bedroom, and living room.)

Be Ready to File a Suit When Appropriate

You depend on your municipality’s power and light services. Although you have the right to sue the power company for lost work time, according to Spruce, you should check your circuit’s power before assuming the power isn’t working. The same website recommends turning the circuit breakers off at the circuit panel and leaving them off for 20 seconds before switching them back on. If this doesn’t work and your productivity is impacted, contact a commercial attorney for guidance in filing a lawsuit.

A commercial attorney can explain your responsibilities and rights if you need clarification on any legal issues concerning your company. Be prepared since legal matters can potentially turn into lawsuits. A well-written business guide and Employee Handbook will help your fellow managers and employees know where they stand.

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