There are many areas of law that play a crucial role in how a business is developed, maintained and grown. The business law attorneys at Snee, Lutche, Helmlinger & Spielberger, P.A. have highlighted a few legal areas of which business owners should be familiar.
Wage and Hour Laws
Under both Maryland state and federal law, employees who work more than 40 hours per week are entitled to overtime pay, unless they are classified as being exempt. Though many business owners confuse exempt employees with salaried employees, it is important to note that not all salaried employees are exempt from overtime pay. Misclassifying employees to avoid paying overtime wages is a crime, and could result in costly fines and lawsuits.
Being familiar with basic employment laws and regulations will help business owners to properly manage their business. This includes simple matters such as establishing employee break rules, and broader scale issues such as understanding and properly implementing Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations. The FMLA is an essential law to understand for owners with businesses that have more than 50 employees, as it establishes that they must provide qualified workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid, employment protected leave for certain family and medical reasons during a one-year period.
Intellectual Property Laws
Building a business requires building a brand and protecting it by properly registering any trademark with the USPTO (United States Patent & Trademark Office). When developing a slogan, logo or business name, business owners must be mindful that they are not infringing on someone else’s intellectual property. Further, depending on the nature of a business, it may be important to understand specific copyright, patent and trademark laws that will protect ideas, products and artistic creations.
How a business is formed will affect how it is liable for state and local taxes. For example, in the state of Maryland, regular “C” Corporations are responsible for a corporate income tax of 8.25% levied on all taxable income, whereas sole proprietorships and “S” Corporations are taxed on the income of the business in its entirety through the proprietor’s personal income tax return.
While it may not be necessary for business owners to have in-depth knowledge of all legal matters pertaining to their business, it is important that they are familiar with some key areas and seek advice from their attorneys and accountants. For all other business related legal matters, contact the experienced lawyers at Snee, Lutche, Helmlinger & Spielberger, P.A.