Under the Civil Rights Act of 1991, employees who believe they were victims of job discrimination due to race, religion, sex or disability are entitled to a trial by jury.

While companies with fewer than 15 employees are exempt from federal discrimination laws, that doesn't mean they should not worry about this issue. Most states have civil rights legislation that protects employees of small firms from discrimination. There is also the risk of lawsuits in a variety of forms. One attorney estimates the average legal fees for defense in a sexual harassment suit, regardless of the verdict, are upwards of $75,000.

Excerpted from Start Your Own Business: The Only Start-Up Guide You'll Ever Need