Few things will drive a business into the ground as quickly as legal trouble. Unfortunately, many businesses with amazing products and services are forced to close simply because of minor legal issues that escalate into devastating trials or out-of-court settlements (i.e. CleanFlicks, Apps Alliance). Here are a few ways you can make sure that your company and its assets are legally protected at all times.
Establish Clear Hiring and Firing Practices
One of the most cost-effective ways to protect your company from future lawsuits is to have clear hiring and firing practices in place. Not only will these guidelines give you an extra layer of security when you bring on new staff, but it will also allow you to fire a second-rate employee without worrying about a discrimination or wrongful termination case. Businesses that have comprehensive guidelines regarding their staffing practices are much less likely to face expensive lawsuits as they grow.
Create an HR Team
If you only have one or two employees, then you most likely do not need a human resources department or team. As your business grows, however, you should consider creating a small HR department or getting some HR training on your own. In addition to assisting you with hiring and training new employees, an HR team can also help you handle disputes and confrontations before they escalate.
Be Wary of Online Content
Many of the lawsuits that are now being filed against businesses are because of online content. From digital theft to slander, a single comment or post on a social media site can haunt a company for years. Once you establish your HR team, they should come up with very strict guidelines regarding what employees can and cannot post.
Work With a Legal Representative
Having a lawyer on retainer could be invaluable if you ever face any criminal cases. These legal professionals will quickly become familiar with your company and its practices so that they can create an airtight defense when it is needed the most. Even if you do not experience a major case at any point, they can still give you legal advice when you are ready to make any major decisions such as expanding, buying out a partner, or going public.
No company can make itself 100 percent impervious to lawsuits, but it doesn’t take much to minimize your risks. These four steps will give you a good legal foundation in the unfortunate event that you have to deal with any civil or criminal cases.