A Quick Legal Note for Entrepreneurs

By Alvin Mason

The initial legal issue for entrepreneurs is the business form. Once the decision of sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation is made the business person should be knowledgeable of the following legal subjects.

All business people need to understand these 3 legal concepts.

  1. Duty to a Customer
  2. False Advertising
  3. Potential Liability

Duty to a Customer

First there is a general legal duty to treat customers with respect. Generally speaking all challenges to a customer should be out of the sight and hearing of other customers. For example, if you suspect someone of stealing in your business, if you don't have video proof, then when challenging or inquiring the customer about your suspicions no other customer should see or hear the discussion. If they do, you have caused public embarrassment. If they did not steal and you accused them in public then they could sue you.

No employee should ever address a customer in a disrespectful way. Arguing with a customer in public is potential liability. Always ask a customer can you talk to them in private.

False Advertising

All advertising or claims made about a product or service must be accurate. Any unsubstantiated claims can be subject to a Federal Trade Commission investigation. Also understand that any guarantees concerning business performance or any advertised sales prices must be honored. Make sure all business signs and advertising are proofread and scrutinized.

Potential Liability

All business owners have a duty to customers to keep them safe. Any known hazard must be corrected, both inside and outside the business. For example glass on the floor or a wet slippery floor should be immediately signed (Caution Wet Floor Sign) and then cleaned up. Also all labels on chemicals used should be read. If for example a cleaner or metal polish has a hazard warning that it should only be used in a well ventilated area, then it should not be used indoors during business hours. There are times that a business needs to hire security for the protection of customers and employees.

These are just a few quick legal considerations for entrepreneurs.

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