Some business owners may not realize just how many laws they’re obligated to follow. It isn’t just tax laws that companies need to take heed of. There are many legislation managers need to be aware of, from employee to trademark laws.
Even some of the largest, most successful companies in the world have found themselves in legal trouble. These cases usually lead to grave financial and reputation damage. Here are some examples of lawsuits from major corporations and what you can learn from them…
The McDonald’s “Hot Coffee” Incident
After Stella Liebeck had been burnt by spilling McDonald’s coffee on herself, she took the case to court. This resulted in the famous fast food chain paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation and punitive damages.
Although the media initially made the case seem frivolous, it was right for McDonald’s to be sued. It was found that McDonald’s chains were serving coffees at temperatures high enough to cause third-degree burns. Liebeck suffered this herself.
The case emphasizes how crucial health and safety measures are for all businesses. Companies who cause injury, illness or other adverse conditions to employees or customers are liable to be sued. It’s the company’s responsibility to make sure no one gets hurt in their premises.
Adidas Sue Forever 21 For Using Three Stripes
Last year, one of the world’s favorite sportswear brands sued clothing retailer Forever 21. It’s one of the many companies Adidas has sued for using three stripes on their clothing. Adidas built their brand on triple-striped clothes and footwear and even trademarked the design. They don’t take kindly to other companies profiting from it.
It goes to show how important it is for businesses to be aware of copyright issues. Accidentally infringing on someone else’s trademark can bring you bad publicity and a court case. It also highlights the importance of trademarking any business materials that could be valuable. Many companies use a top trademark attorney to protect their assets.
Businesses of all sizes should trademark their business name at the very least. Other things that might be worth protecting include slogans, logos, product names, and designs. You never know what might end up being valuable, so it’s best to trademark your ideas.
McReynolds Sues Merrill Lynch For Discriminating Against Black Employees
George McReynolds worked as a financial broker for the Merrill Lynch banking company for many years. McReynolds was part of a team with two white co-workers. After the team had dissolved, the majority of his assets were given away to the white brokers. This reduced his income massively.
It wasn’t the first time employees of the company experienced discrimination. In 2004, Merrill Lynch had to pay out 2.2 million dollars to a female employee. The court found they had been discriminating against female employees for many years.
McReynolds brought a similar case against them with the support of over 1,200 other black employees. Although it took many years, the case was eventually settled for $160 million.
The moral of the story is simple. Businesses should never discriminate against employees or deny them opportunities based on their backgrounds. Doing so can be incredibly damaging to their reputation and their finances.