An important factor of being successful in business is having the power of foresight. Of course, we don’t mean that you need to try and see into the future, with the help of things like tarot cards and crystal balls. Foresight in business means taking the time to anticipate and prepare for any eventualities that will arise – especially the negative ones. No business professional wants their company’s integrity and success to be compromised by finding themselves in a compromising legal position. But the truth is, legal issues can hit a business at almost any time, and they are more common than you might think. Failing to prepare for such an eventuality is an oversight all of its own, and could land both you and your business in hot water. Even if you think you do everything by the book, all it can take is one minor slip up to bring about a legal case against you and your company. The vital thing is that you get out of it both quickly and relatively unscathed – here are some examples of legal battles you could find yourself in, and what you can do to get yourself out of them too.
Employee law is complicated, and you need to make sure that there are no loopholes in the contracts you share with your staff. Employees or ex-employees suing employers on discrimination charges is something that is fairly common these days. Examples of such cases are people claiming they were dismissed from their jobs due to racial or gender prejudice, or employees stating that they were not given the same opportunities as colleagues due to reasons other than performance. Having a discrimination case brought against you is pretty bad PR, and you may struggle to attract a good caliber of employee if it all goes public, too. Always cover your tracks with your employees by setting out clear, concise contracts – and if you have any suspicion that someone in the business prejudiced, address the issue immediately.
Negligence is a legal term that can relate both to your staff and to your clients. If you cut corners on your workplace health and safety features, or if you put a product out on the market that has not been adequately tested, you could be liable for negligence. Neglect court cases can be long and complicated, which is why if you find yourself in one, it can be useful to have certified court reporters on hand to help you consolidate every inch of the trial. You will need to prove that causation was a result of the plaintiff’s actions, not your own, to win the case.
Patents and copyright
If your business revolves around a product or invention, it’s fairly likely that you will face at least one other company/individual trying to take you to court over copyright. In some scenarios, companies may sit on patents for years, waiting for another business to inadvertently violate them, to get money out of litigation. To avoid this happening to you, undertake meticulous research throughout your product development stage, and make any changes necessary so that your product is one of a kind on the market.