Many companies choose to do business through a corporation or other limited liability entity (like an LLC). The reason is because a corporation is its own separate “person,” so shareholders or members are not liable for the company’s obligations or debts. This is true whether the corporation has a single shareholder or hundreds of shareholders. However, to take advantage of this benefit, the corporation’s affairs must actually be kept “separate” from the personal affairs of its shareholders.
Small businesses can sometimes face significant liability under employment laws because they aren’t aware of the rules that regulate certain employment activities. Even where employers and employees agree to certain employment practices, these practices may nonetheless be illegal if the employer does not comply with applicable regulations. In a previous post, we discussed minimum wage and overtime regulations. Additional areas of concern to business owners include the following:
New York labor law regulates employers of all sizes. However, while large employers typically have experienced HR managers or in-house attorneys to keep them informed of these rules, smaller businesses often lack those resources. The result is that small businesses may run afoul of employment laws and face significant liability. Many situations which commonly arise in smaller businesses don’t seem like they would require a consultation with counsel, but in fact they are governed by regulations and formalities that owners need to know. Some of the top areas which owners should give special attention to include the following:
Under New York state law, business owners who form a limited liability company are required to create an operating agreement which details the procedures by which the LLC will operate.
Despite the requirement, many companies don’t have an agreement in place, or have created a document using boilerplate language without advice from an attorney.