Small businesses are subject to a significant number of regulatory requirements. The Federal government does control some items, but individual states are the primary regulatory entities when it comes to organizing and controlling small business. They establish approved organizational structures, licensing requirements, and tax policy. State agencies also interpret and implement Federal statutes like environmental regulations.
Areas covered by Legal or Regulatory Requirements:
Generally, these are covered by both State and Federal consumer protection laws. You need to be truthful and not misleading in your advertising efforts. They generally apply regardless of the advertising medium whether print, on billboards or over the Internet. There are also laws concerning online marketing such as spamming, telemarketing laws, and what you can and can’t say on a product label.
Employment and labor laws
There is a wide range of Federal, State and even local laws pertaining to employee rights such as discrimination and harassment, termination, safe and drug-free work environments, benefits, and wages. Of particular note to small business is the distinctions between salaried and hourly employee classifications as well as rules for subcontractors.
A summary of Federal Department of Labor Laws.
Finance laws require businesses to follow certain guidelines when it comes to antitrust regulations, bankruptcy, and securities.
These laws protect a trademark, patent, or trade secrets. Learn the correct procedures to take to safeguard your company’s property.
An overview of the issues involved and has links to give more in-depth information.
Online business law
Now that almost every business is online, companies need to be in compliance with laws dealing with online privacy, security, copyright, and taxation issues.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and your state government have very specific laws when it comes to regulating the impact of business on the environment. Depending on the area of business, companies must deal with disposal of toxic materials, your responsibilities for air pollution control, and more.
The government (and your customers) want to know you’re doing everything you can to protect the personal information your business obtains.
Foreign workers, immigration, and employee eligibility
Immigration status is now an important consideration when hiring employees. Companies must vet employees for legal status.
Workplace safety and health
These laws protect employees from a multitude of hazardous work environments. The fines for failing to comply with these laws can be substantial and ignorance of the law is no excuse. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has many outreach programs in place to help small business owners comply with workplace safety regulations.
Disclaimer: The content presented on this website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.
WEBSITES – SMALL BUSINESS REGULATION
General Business Regulation
The SBA has a good introduction and reference to General Business Law and Regulations.
State laws, taxes, and licensing regimes vary widely.
General information about State Business Laws and Regulations:
- Link to every State’s Listing of Laws. May require searching through several levels of links but is very comprehensive.
- Information about specific Business Law in each State.
The SBA has a number of searchable databases that allow you to reference State regulations, permitting and licensing. Useful links:
Links to State Resources
The following links give a more in-depth information about State Regulations, Permit and License Requirements, and Business Taxes. Below is a listing of links to each state’s websites.:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington (state)
- West Virginia
- Washington, District of Colombia
- Federal Government Regulation: Search for small business – can refine for specific category or functional area
- Small Business Administration (SBA):
- Small Business Resource Listing
- Business Law and Regulation
- Business Guides by Industry/Sector
- Code for Regulations (CFR) The Code of Federal Regulations *(CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register.
- Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs: *This website give information about regulations that are under review or pending by Federal Government Executive Agencies.
- Occupational Safety & Health Administration
- National Federation of Independent Businesses
- National Association for the Self-Employed: *This site includes discussion of the regulatory environment and the impact on Small Business.
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce: *This site includes discussion of the regulatory environment and the impact on Small Business.
- NOLO – Law for All Website
- NOLO – Small Business Legal Requirements: *Comprehensive listing of legal requirements for Small Business as well as other legal issues that might be of use.
- NOLO – State Start-up Requirements for Small Business
- NOLO – Federal Start-up Requirements for Small Business
- NOLO – Small Business Resource Page: *Has many business/start-up software offerings
- SmallBusiness.com: *This website has a series of articles related to small business. While this is a valuable resource, it is not very friendly and lacks a good search tool.
- Money Magazine:
- Entrepreneur Magazine:
- Forbes Magazine:
- The Economist Magazine:
- Small Businesses Fret Less…: *This gives a brief description of the issues involved in small business regulation and has an interesting tool that gives an overall ranking for each state’s regulatory/tax environment for small business