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Our Top 10 Small Business Legal Stories of 2013

By Aditi Mukherji, JD | Last updated on

This year, the most popular small business legal issues on our Free Enterprise blog involved employment law. From asking for doctor's notes to conducting legal exit interviews, our business-minded readers seemed most hungry for guidance on how best to manage employees.

That's not to say we didn't cover other major legal issues affecting entrepreneurs, including small business cyberattacks and the delay of Obamacare's employer mandate.

Still, some stories resonated more than others. Here are the Top 10 Free Enterprise posts of 2013:

  1. Don't Forget: 'Obamacare Letters' Due Oct. 1: Getting into compliance with the Affordable Care Act -- including notice deadlines for employers -- topped the list for small businesses legal issues this year.
  2. Asking for a Doctor's Note? Keep It Legal: In our post on the do's and don'ts of asking for a doctor's note, the lesson is clear: Don't ask for too much information.
  3. Burger King Franchisee Settles Harassment Suit: The nation's largest franchisee of Burger King restaurants made headlines when it agreed to settle a huge sexual harassment lawsuit for $2.5 million.
  4. Salaried Employees: How Many Hours Can They Work?: We often discuss the wage and hour rules for hourly workers, but salaried employees have protections, too.
  5. McDonald's Franchisees Furious Over Costs: From sky-high costs to a lack of control, McDonald's franchisee owners' patience with corporate was wearing as thin as a soggy French fry this year.
  6. 3 Ways You Can Legally Refuse Service to Customers: A "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service" policy is one of many valid reasons business owners may use to turn troublesome customers away.
  7. Is Your Non-Compete Clause Valid?: A valid non-compete agreement can be a powerful business tool to protect trade secrets and retain customers, but they must be drafted carefully to be enforceable.
  8. For Employers: 5 Red Flags to Spot on Resumes: When your business picks up in 2014 and you're ready to grow your team, be sure to spot the five telltale resume red flags in your screening process.
  9. Is It Legal to Read Employees' Email?: Though it's typically legal for employers to check employee email for legitimate work reasons, employers should keep everyone on the same page with a written office email policy.
  10. 5 Tips for Keeping Employee Exit Interviews Legal: Though exit interviews may seem straightforward, there are a few tips you should keep in mind to prevent the exit interview from veering into legally dubious territory.

Is there a post you particularly loved that didn't make the cut? Tweet it to us at @FindLawConsumer.

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