Small Business Encyclopedia
Legal Issues

Fair Labor Standards Act

A federal law enforcing minimum standards that employers must abide by when hiring employees

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The 1993 law that entitles a covered employee to take up to 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period for the birth or adoption of a child or the serious health condition of the employee or the employee's child, spouse or parent


A legal document between parties that clearly spells out just what is expected and required of each party

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

A federal law enacted in 1990 that makes it illegal for employers with 15 or more employees to refuse to hire qualified people with disabilities if making "reasonable accommodations" would enable the person to carry out the duties of the job


A formal dispute resolution process that's legally binding on the parties


A person who's been formally trained in the law, especially one whose profession is advising others in matters of law or representing them in lawsuits

Crime Prevention

Steps you can take to minimize the risk that your business may be the victim of either an internal or external crime

Harassment Policy

A written policy specifically stating that harassment will not be tolerated at work

Discrimination Policy

A document that outlines your company policies in regards to discrimination in hiring and management practices

Business License

A legal document that grants you the right to operate a business in your city. Depending on your business, there are other licenses that may also be required.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC

The federal government agency mandated to monitor compliance with and enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights of 1964 and other federal civil rights laws

Labor Laws

Laws that define the rights of employees in the United States and protect them from employer retaliation for exercising those legal rights or reporting violations to the proper authorities.


A civil action brought in court of law in which a plaintiff seeks a legal remedy, such as damages


Anything for which a company is legally bound or obligated, as to make good any loss or damage that occurs in a transaction


A form of alternative dispute resolution in which the involved parties bring their dispute to a neutral third party, who helps them agree on a settlement; mediation is generally nonbinding, unless the parties agree to a resulting settlement


The act of discussing an issue between two or more parties with competing interests with an aim of coming to an agreement

Retainer Fee

An amount of money that acts as a fee pre-payment; the remainder is refunded to the client

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

A federal agency that oversees the federal laws requiring employers to provide employees with a workplace free from hazardous conditions

Overtime Regulations

The laws that regulate how to compensate employees for working in excess of a standard workweek


A seller's assurance to a purchaser that the goods or services being purchased are or shall be as represented and, if not, will be replaced or repaired

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