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b2ap3_thumbnail_small-business-red-tape-regulations.jpgBeing a small business owner is unlike any job in the world. Challenges like finding the starting funds for a business, hiring good employees, marketing your business, and tax compliance are difficult obstacles to overcome. One such obstacle, which according to some is stifling small businesses across the U.S, is the burden of government regulations. The Code of Federal Regulations has grown to an astounding 175,000 pages. Many of these regulations can become quite problematic for small business owners.

Illegal Cookies Could Land Business Owner in Jail

One example of this regulatory burden has been making life difficult for a small bed and breakfast in Wisconsin. The owner of the B&B serves cookies and other baked treats for her guests. She takes pride in her work, but selling the baked goods could result in the owner being imprisoned for up to six months. There is a rule in Wisconsin law which mandates that if she wants to sell them, her baked goods must come from a commercial kitchen. So, if this B&B owner wishes to sell her cookies, she must find a way to finance an entire commercial kitchen. The cost of installing a kitchen of that magnitude would cost the owner an estimated $50,000.

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Illinois business law attorneysGoogle CEO Sundar Pichai is in the news again regarding the termination of a former engineer with the company. Pichai has gone on record saying that he does not regret firing James Damore, the engineer responsible for writing an extremely controversial internal memo regarding the gender gap in technology companies. The memo created a media frenzy in July 2017 after it was leaked to the public by an unconfirmed source. In the memo, Damore criticized Google’s diversity policies as being inefficient and unfair.

Gender Disparity

Many companies—tech companies, in particular—often have an uneven number of men and woman working within the business. On the whole, men have been found to be much more likely than women to work in technology-based occupations such as software engineer or web developer. Google has reported that its staff is around 70 percent male and 30 percent female.

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Illinois business law attorneysFor many business owners, firing an employee is something they hope they will not have to do. Unfortunately, letting employees go is just as much a part of being a business owner as hiring employees is. When an employer fires an employee, he or she must be careful to avoid creating an opportunity for the employee to sue. Employers must make certain that the termination was justified, legitimate, and handled within the law. There is no way to completely eliminate the risk of being sued, but avoiding these common mistakes can help business owners avoid litigation.

Keeping Inadequate Records

Sometimes, employers become overwhelmed with the demanding task of running a business, and they allow some duties to slip. One of these often overlooked responsibilities is record-keeping. For example, employers have the responsibility to track employee hours worked. When keeping track of the hours worked by employees is based on the “honor system” or is inadequately managed, employees can claim that they were not paid for the actual hours they worked.

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Arlington Heights business law attorneysWhen you own and operate a business, it is crucial to remain in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. You are responsible for meeting government standards for licensing and certification, as well as safety and fire codes and a myriad of other requirements. One of the most controversial requirements—at least in recent years—has been compensation. If you employ a staff, it is your responsibility to pay them in accordance with federal, state, and local wage laws. Failing to do so could result in serious penalties, as one Chicago restaurant recently discovered.

Issues With “Training Rate”

The owner of popular Italian eatery Fabulous Freddies is on the proverbial hot seat following an investigation by the United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division. The investigation found that the restaurant and its owner failed to comply with the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA). According to several news reports, investigators from the Department of Labor found that Fabulous Freddies paid certain non-tipped workers a “training [pay] rate” of just $3.75 per hour—less than half of the $8.25 minimum wage in Illinois and still far below the $7.25 federal minimum wage.

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Arlington Heights business law attorneysThere are only a few short weeks before Christmas, and people everywhere are scrambling to buy gifts. This means that many retail companies have got to find a way to meet significantly-increased demand. Many stores satisfy this demand by hiring additional staff for the holiday season, but some businesses struggle to find and hire good temporary workers. There are some steps you can take that may make the recruitment and hiring process more efficient as the winter holidays draw near.

Do Not Wait to Hire Seasonal Workers

By the month of December, most retail stores are already deep into the hiring process for seasonal employees. It is important for businesses to be proactive and not wait until the last minute to hire this additional help. Ideally, businesses would start the recruitment process weeks or even months before the holiday shopping season begins. This allows employers to process applications and interview candidates long before the demand increases.

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Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
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