• The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in public places.
• The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes employees’ minimum wage and overtime pay standards.
• The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees weeks of unpaid leave per year.
• OSHA regulations cover workplace safety hazards as well as personal protective equipment.
• The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates air, water, and land pollution and solid waste management.
Starting a business is part of the American dream. It’s estimated that about four million businesses are started annually. These businesses are created for various reasons, from taking advantage of an exciting opportunity to making an economic necessity. However, before starting a business, you must understand the laws surrounding it.
Laws You Need to Know When Starting a Business
A lot goes into starting a business, and it’s not all fun and games. Before you hang your shingle, you must ensure you follow all the relevant laws—failure to do so could result in severe penalties. To help you get started on the right foot, here are five essential laws you need to know about before starting a business.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
If you plan on opening a brick-and-mortar business, you must be aware of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is a federal law that stops discrimination against disabled applicants. If your business is open to the public, you must ensure it is accessible to people with disabilities. For example, if your store has stairs leading up to the entrance, you must install a ramp or an elevator.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
The FLSA is a federal law establishing the wage and pay standards in the U.S. Under the FLSA, covered nonexempt employees must be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked. It’s one of the essential laws you need to understand before starting a business.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides eligible employees weeks of unpaid leave for specific medical and family reasons. Employees are also entitled to maintain their health insurance coverage during their leave under most group health plans. Employees must have worked for at least twelve months to get these benefits.
If you’re planning on starting a business that involves any sort of manufacturing or industrial work, it’s essential to be aware of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations. OSHA is a federal agency responsible for ensuring safe and healthful working conditions by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, outreach, education, and assistance. OSHA standards cover everything from workplace safety hazards, such as electrical equipment and chemicals, to personal protective equipment, such as hard hats and safety glasses.
Environmental Protection Agency Regulations
If your business involves any manufacturing or production process, it’s essential to be aware of environmental regulations the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets forth. The EPA protects human health and the natural environment—air, water, and land—upon which life depends. EPA regulations cover air pollution control, water quality standards, toxic substances control, and solid waste management.
Encountering These Laws During Business Operations
If you encounter any of these laws during your business operations, it’s essential to understand them and comply with them. So here’s what you need to do.
Early in your business operations, an employee might bring a dispute with another employee to your attention. If that happens, you should take steps to try and mediate the dispute before escalating it further. For example, you can hire an experienced employment law mediator. The mediator can facilitate a constructive dialogue between the two parties and help them reach an agreement that works for them.
If you can’t resolve the dispute with mediation, you must consult an experienced employment lawyer. An attorney can explain your rights and obligations under applicable laws, advise you on how best to proceed, and possibly even represent you in court if the dispute goes that far.
No matter what kind of business you’re starting, you must know the laws governing your operations. Knowing these five laws before you open your doors can help ensure that your business gets off to a good start and continues to run smoothly. If you have any questions about these laws or encounter any of them in your business operations, you must get the advice of an experienced business attorney. They can help ensure that your business operates within the bounds of the law.