Whether it’s in a small business or a corporation, business owners often wear many hats. Not only do they have to keep watch over the operational and financial aspects of the company. They also need to limit risks by caring for customers and employees to avoid any lawsuits that can damage the reputation of a business, especially in the era of social media.
Since many businesses interact with various people like customers, suppliers, other companies, and even government agencies, disagreements can arise and even lead to legal problems that can keep you from running your business smoothly. And while these situations are often unavoidable, keeping the risks at the minimum will help you reduce the chances of any serious legal issues.
With that in mind, here are a few ways business owners can protect themselves and their businesses from litigation.
Incorporating the Business
Many first-time business owners may consider sole-proprietorship when choosing their business structure because they’re easier to maintain and require less paperwork. However, selecting this business structure holds you liable for any legal problems your business encounters. And while your goal may be to avoid any lawsuits or legal issues at all costs, there are some situations you can’t prevent from happening.
For instance, if an employee gets injured on the job, they can sue you for personal injury and demand that you pay for lost wages. If the employee wins the suit and you’re not financially able to pay for these wages, your personal assets like your home, car, or even bank account can be used to pay off what you owe. But making your business a sole proprietorship means that you are held liable for any legal problems your business encounters, and your personal assets may be seized to pay off any debt you owe.
With this in mind, incorporating your business is the better option to consider to protect you from liabilities and separate your personal assets from the company.
Documenting All Agreements
While easier at first, verbal agreements can come back to bite you when the other party starts denying your claims. Any information or agreement that has something to do with your business must be found in writing, whether it’s a formal signed contract or evidence of receipt. This should be the case even if you’re making a loose agreement or a small deal with a friend.
It’s important to put your agreements into writing and are drafted in a way to give you the upper hand. If possible, it’s best to get your business lawyer to look over your documents to ensure that you’re not getting the short end of the stick.
Both you and your employees need to stay up-to-date with the rules and regulations that affect your company. These include laws about harassment and discrimination that can get you into a lot of legal trouble. This is why it’s essential to study these laws in detail to make your workplace harassment and discrimination-free for all.
Not only will this help you avoid any possible issues that may arise from workplace policies that single out a particular group of people, but it will also help you create a healthier workplace for you and your employees.
Implementing an Employee Handbook
A business’s success not only relies on the owner’s skills and talents but also on the motivation, ethics, and behavior of its employees. This is especially important when they have access to confidential information they wouldn’t otherwise be aware of. Creating an employee handbook can become a valuable resource for both you and your employees. It can serve as a guide for employees as it includes the company’s policies, practices, and standards that it expects from them. On the other hand, this can be a way to protect your business from becoming the target of any backlash or slander.
Investing in Liability Insurance
No matter what kind of business you run, it’s essential to invest in liability insurance to protect you from various claims that result from damage or injuries to either people or property. Having liability insurance handy will help you cover any payouts or costs you usually have to pay for if you don’t have insurance.
Business owners have shoes to fill, as they are primarily responsible for protecting their company in the event of a lawsuit resulting from injuries, damages, or other legal issues. Without taking the necessary precautions, this can lead to a suffering business using a damaged reputation, halting business operations, and loss in profit, among other things. But with these tips under your belt, you’ll be able to minimize the risks of litigation and protect your company to keep it running for years to come.