Small business owners face a variety of challenges in their business. The task of creating a successful sales funnel to effectively market and sell the product or service is challenging enough. The typical business owner goes into business to help others with their product or service only to be met with a variety of obstacles designed to hinder this simple mission. Our guest today was William (Bill) Smoak who is an Attorney with the law firm of Smoak, Chistolini, and Barnett where they specialize in assisting business owners with regulatory and legal challenges that arise in the daily course of their business.
The entrepreneurial spirit of the American culture coupled with the lack of business training in our public educational system has created a Catch 22 in our economy. America has been built on the backs of small business owners and many strive to run their own business, but our culture has provided a playing field devoid of basic training at the youth level and those who invest in training are oftentimes left riddled with debt that encumbers their ability to launch a business. Add to this mix regulatory issues that are constantly being added, changed and evolved and you have a culture of determined entrepreneurs set up to fail.
On this segment of That Business Show, Bill shared with the audience information on one of the regulatory issues that is working against the small business owner’s ability to succeed. The Fair Labor Standards Act works to protect the rights of the employee but leaves open opportunity for abuse of the system. Lawyers are able to file suits without an administrative filter such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
From the Department of Labor’s Website:
The Overtime Rule
In 2014, President Obama directed the Secretary of Labor to update the overtime regulations to reflect the original intent of the Fair Labor Standards Act, and to simplify and modernize the rules so they’re easier for workers and businesses to understand and apply. The department has issued a final rule that will put more money in the pockets of middle class workers – or give them more free time.
The final rule will:
- Raise the salary threshold indicating eligibility from $455/week to $913 ($47,476 per year), ensuring protections to 4.2 million workers.
- Automatically update the salary threshold every three years, based on wage growth over time, increasing predictability.
- Strengthen overtime protections for salaried workers already entitled to overtime.
- Provide greater clarity for workers and employers.Fortunately for business owners at this time, the law is on hold due to a successful lawsuit that has provided a preliminary injunction enjoining the Department of Labor from implementing and enforcing the Final Rule which was set to go into effect December 1st
While this ruling works to raise the salaries of the white-collar administrative worker, it creates a tremendous burden on the small business owner who now is having an expense doubled! That is per employee, too, so the impact is magnified by the number of exempt workers a business has. In short, exempt workers are not entitled to overtime and non-exempt employees are entitled to overtime pay. There are strict tests to apply to accurately determine the proper category of a worker too and this gray area creates opportunity for litigation in business employment matters.
Fortunately for business owners at this time, the law is on hold due to a successful lawsuit that has provided a preliminary injunction enjoining the Department of Labor from implementing and enforcing the Final Rule, which was set to go into effect December 1, 2016. As Bill explains in this segment though, the issue remains unresolved and could end up at the Supreme Court Level. In the meantime, small business owners are left with uncertainty and will be slower to hire new staff until this law is ironed out.
Bill and his firm work to protect business owners from issues that arise in this area and other areas involving the Fair Labor Standards Act and also touches on issues relating to Title VII which deals with discrimination in the workplace. They also work on issues relating to abuse of the regulation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This is another law that was issued with good intentions but is easily abused by attorneys who shake down business owners on every minute detail and by using disabled individuals they hire to bring these lawsuits out.
To counteract these challenges that business owners face, Bill and their firm offers to business owners an HR wellness checkup. It is a questionnaire found at www.flatrialcounsel.com that will gauge your exposure to issues surrounding the FLSA, Title VII, the ADA and other issues and is used as a tool to help protect you and your business by their firm should you choose to engage their services. With Florida being ground zero for business litigation, it is imperative that you educate and protect yourself as a business owner.
You are in business for much more than just producing a product or service and today must have knowledge in regulatory issues to stay afloat.
Categorized in: Work
This post was written by Elevate, Inc.