Examining the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Sole Proprietorship

Illinois small business attorneysIn a sole proprietorship, an individual proprietor (the owner), manages and runs their business. They receive all income for the company, but they are also responsible for its debts, liabilities, and tax obligations. Learn more about this widely used business structure, including its advantages and disadvantages, and how an attorney can assist with the setup.

Advantages of a Sole Proprietorship

Of all the business structures that one can choose, sole proprietorships tend to be the most affordable and easiest to start. Paperwork and other legal items are generally less extensive, and the sole proprietor is only required to comply with state and federal tax laws, zoning laws, and other local regulations, such as licensing laws.

There are also few formal business requirements (except those specific to the industry they operate in), and because the owner has full control over the decision-making power within their business, they may sell or transfer it to another owner or entity at any time they deem necessary. The owner may also change the structure of the business at any time, but it is important to recognize that obligations before the switch may still fall on the owner of the company.

Disadvantages of a Sole Proprietorship

Unlike other business structures, sole proprietorships are not protected from liabilities and bad debts incurred by their company. Instead, they may be held personally liable. In extreme situations, this can cause the business and the owner to simultaneously go bankrupt. Furthermore, the sole proprietor is required to pay all federal taxes on any income earned, and they may be penalized if they do not meet their obligation.

Another major disadvantage is that few investors are willing to put money or energy into a sole proprietorship; quite simply, there just is not enough protection for the investor. As such, sole proprietor business owners typically rely on personal loans and assets to finance the company. If the business fails, this can result in a serious financial loss for the owner of a sole proprietorship.

Contact Our DuPage County Business Law Attorneys

Although sole proprietorships are relatively simple and straightforward in terms of setup, there are some obstacles that business owners should be aware of before moving forward. Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC can help ensure that these matters are understood by business owners and that they receive personalized attention to fit their needs. Learn more about how we can assist with your business set-up by scheduling a personalized consultation with our DuPage County business law attorneys. Call our offices at 630-665-2500 today.



Encouraging and Protecting Diversity in the Workplace

Illinois business law attorneysDiversity in the workplace can offer varying perspectives, improve the company’s image, and may even result in capital gains. However, many businesses struggle to achieve true diversity and those that do often struggle to protect it. Do things differently, avoid litigation, and ultimately improve your company’s chances of success with help from the following.

Why Diversity is So Important

At first glance, diversity may not seem like the most important aspect of running a business. Instead, most owners focus their attention on things like recruiting experts in their field, reducing overhead costs, and creating a platform from which they can market – and yet these aspects of running a business often come naturally for those that support diversity. As an example, a business that strives to maintain ethnic diversity in the workplace may have a better understanding of cultural differences that may impact their sales and marketing strategies.

Encouraging Diversity in the Workplace

Diversity in the workplace is rarely accidental. Instead, it is done with intention. A business owner must consider what other groups of people can bring to the table. They must be willing to look at the cold, hard facts. They must look beyond the resume, and they cannot be swayed by charisma. Experience may become less about the jobs that a prospective employee has worked, and may become more about the potential. For example, you might consider hiring the white, male applicant with years of experience, but do not discount the homemaker that has spent the last ten years caring for her children.

Though the latter may need more training to ensure she is up to speed, she might also be better at multitasking than your male applicant. She may also have knowledge and experience that is difficult to communicate on a resume. Perhaps she has used accounting software and spreadsheets to maintain her household budgets and has some ideas on how your company could better utilize them. In short, before you hire anyone, be willing to ask probing questions, and always look at the whole picture – not just what is on the resume.

Protecting Diversity in the Workplace

Once you have achieved diversity in the workplace – or are well on your way – it is crucial that you know how to protect it. Workplace harassment, discrimination, resistance to change, and other challenges may arise along the way. Some of these issues could lead to a loss of valuable employees. Others may result in litigation. To decrease your risk of experiencing such consequences within your company, consider implementing the following:

  • Anti-discrimination policies;
  • Anti-harassment policies;
  • Equal pay for all same-skill/same-job employees;
  • An open-door policy for reporting harassment and discrimination;
  • Policies that clearly and concisely convey the consequences of workplace harassment;
  • Managerial training on workplace harassment; and
  • Swift and attentive handling of all harassment complaints.

Contact Our DuPage County Business Law Attorneys

If your company is striving for diversity in the workplace and you need assistance with developing policies, employment contracts, and other anti-harassment procedures, contact Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC for assistance. Our DuPage County business law attorneys can work with you to determine your goals, assist you in creating legally binding contracts and policies, and examine any situation involving potential litigation to ensure you have the support you need. Schedule your consultation by calling 630-665-2500 today.




2017 Brings Three New Sick Leave Laws to Illinois

DuPage County business law attorneysChanges to business laws are not a new thing, but employers are facing three major updates. Failure to comply with any of these new laws can result in serious consequences for employers, not the least of which may include litigation. Learn what they mean for your company, and how you can get ahead of them to protect your business with help from the following information.

Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Set to take effect July 1, 2017, the Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance (SLO) is an amendment to the original Minimum Wage Order. It requires that employers provide all of their employees with 40 hours of sick paid leave for 12 months of employment, that at least 20 of those hours be carried over to the next 12 months of employment if they are not used, and that an additional 40 hours be carried over to cover any leave that qualified under the Family Medical Leave Act. It applies to all Chicago employers with one or more covered employees (worked at least 80 hours within a 120-day employment period). However, employers do not have to grant this leave until their employees have been employed for at least 180 days.

Cook County Earned Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

The Cook County Earned Paid Sick Leave Ordinance is quite similar to the Chicago SLO: Employees must be permitted to earn up to 40 hours of sick leave over a 12 month work period, and they must be permitted to carry over at least 20 hours for the next 12 months, and 40 hours for the purpose of any qualifying FMLA time off. However, there are some differences between the two ordinances. For one, the provision extends beyond the city of Chicago and extends to all of Cook County, including unincorporated areas. Secondly, some businesses may be exempt from this particular law. Before assuming an exemption, it is critical that Cook County businesses speak with an experienced attorney about their situation.

Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act

The Illinois Employee Sick Leave Act, which went into effect on January 1, 2017, covers the entire state of Illinois. It is different from the Cook County and Chicago SLOs in that it does not require employers to offer paid sick leave earnings. It does, however, expand the reasons that employees can take paid sick leave absences. They may take time off for the illness, injury, or medical treatment of a spouse, child, sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, stepparent, father-in-law, or mother-in-law.

Prepare and Protect Your Company from Litigation

To avoid litigation, employers should ensure their policies and implementation of those policies are in compliance with the law. Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC can work with you and your business work through the changes and transition. To learn more about our comprehensive services, call 630-665-2500 and schedule a consultation with our DuPage County business law attorneys today.