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Business Law Articles

DOL makes it easier for small businesses to offer 401(k) plans

A new final rule from the Labor Department makes it easier for small businesses to join together to offer their workers 401(k) plans. The rule goes into effect on Sept. 30. As a result of the new rule, smaller companies can now leverage the bigger scale of a combined group of businesses to negotiate lower fees on their 401(k) plans. Under the rule, companies in different industries, for example marketing firms and landscaping companies, can create

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When you need a collection agency

It’s a real drain on a business when you can’t get clients to pay. It’s ideal when you can take matters into your own hands and see results, but when you’ve tried everything else, sometimes you need to hire a collection agency. A collection agency is helpful if you haven’t been able to successfully contact the debtor on your own, if several debts have been difficult to collect or if a debt is too big to

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Supreme Court ruling likely to restrict public access to business records

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a ruling that is likely to make it harder for the public to access confidential business records. The court ruled on a longtime exemption under the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), known as Exemption 4, which allows the government to withhold “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person [that is] privileged or confidential.” While federal law doesn’t define the term “confidential,” courts have regularly said

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Preventing suits over website accessibility

Suits claiming that business websites and/or mobile apps aren’t fully accessible to people with disabilities are increasing rapidly. In 2019, a quarter of such suits were brought against companies that had already been sued under the same cause of action. The suits were brought under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. The key to protecting your business from such lawsuits is to ensure that your website complies with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. In a recent

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Supreme Court: Businesses can register scandalous trademarks

The Lanham Act, a federal law that prohibits scandalous and immoral trademarks is unconstitutional, according to a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. Registering a trademark has its benefits. Someone who owns an registered trademark can use it in commerce and enforce it. Registering a trademark provides “constructive notice of the registrant’s claim of ownership,” thereby protecting the owner against certain defenses if a patent infringement action arises. With a registered trademark, the owner has constructive

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What are my Massachusetts business income tax obligations?

How a business is taxed depends in part on the business’s legal form. The five most common types of Massachusetts businesses include corporations, S corporations, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), partnerships, and sole proprietorships. Most states subject corporations to a corporate income tax. In contrast, pass-through entities such as S corporations, LLCs, partnerships, and sole proprietorships are subject to a state’s tax on personal income. Tax rates vary widely among states regarding both corporate and private income.

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Report: Companies must be prepared for cybersecurity regulations

Report: Companies must be prepared for cybersecurity regulations A new report indicates that companies need to prepare for a flood of cybersecurity regulations nationwide. The 2019 Compliance Landscape Report by Edgile, a cyber risk and regulatory compliance partner to Fortune 500 companies, reviewed state bills, resolutions and laws across the country. The report states that in 2018, at least 35 states reviewed more than 265 cybersecurity-related bills and resolutions. Fifty of them became law. This trend

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Legal pitfalls of crowdfunding campaigns

Legal pitfalls of crowdfunding campaigns You have the next big idea and need some cash to make it happen. Crowdfunding campaigns, such as Kickstarter and IndieGogGo, can be effective ways to get a boost, offering contributors a reward in exchange for a financial contribution to the future of your business. Before you jump in, it’s important to be aware that these campaigns aren’t without risk. The first thing to pay attention to is the language you

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Landmark decision allows suits against companies for collecting biometric data

Landmark decision allows suits against companies for collecting biometric data In a ruling that’s expected to have widespread implications, the Illinois Supreme Court has held that consumers can sue companies for collecting biometric data, including facial scans or fingerprints, if the companies fail to disclose how the information will be used. The court unanimously said companies that gather people’s data improperly could be held liable for damages, even without concrete injury to the consumers. The ruling

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OSHA revises electronic recordkeeping rule; Labor groups file suit

OSHA revises electronic recordkeeping rule; Labor groups file suit The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has eliminated the requirement that employers electronically submit Forms 300 (Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses) and 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Report). OSHA published the revised rules in the Federal Register at the end of January. The rule still requires certain employers to submit Form 300A electronically every year. This requirement applies to (1) establishments with 250 or more employees;

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