Prevent Lawsuits from Starting in Your Brewery

In our last blog, we provided six insights meant to help you be successful in your startup brewery. In such a competitive industry, the more resources and information you have, the better chances you have of succeeding.

The same holds true regarding the legal aspects of running a brewery. Rather than allow issues and potential lawsuits to brew, heed the following advice. As your first line of defense, equip your business with a custom-tailored Delaware Brewery Insurance program.

Protect your property—that means your recipes, too.

Running a brewery sort of feels like a family operation. Still, that doesn’t mean everyone should have access to proprietary information and trade secrets. If you have recipes that are or have the potential to be award winners, give their privacy the importance they deserve.

Limit access to recipes and ensure that anyone who has access to them signs enforceable confidentiality, non-disclosure, non-recruiting and assignment of inventions agreements at the time of hire. That way, if someone misappropriates your proprietary information, you can take action, recommends Craft Brewing Business.

Classify employees correctly.

The longstanding debate of whether or not your employees are employees or independent contractors can land your brewery in legal trouble quickly. The Department of Labor (DOL) has announced that it is actively seeking instances of misclassification, which will have severe consequences of penalties for offending businesses—don’t let your brewery be one of them.

Hire qualified and honest candidates.

It goes without saying, yet it often happens: a casual hiring process can lead to questionable employment decisions and problematic employees.

Don’t hire the “walking lawsuit.” Instead, use a detailed and legally compliant employment application and review it for red flags. Conduct in-person interviews and ask meaningful questions. Always check references. Don’t just hire a warm body. It’s a better idea to leave a position open until you find the right candidate, Craft Brewing Business recommends.

Pay your employees for compensable work.

Even volunteers who perform regular work duties need to be compensated for their time. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) categorizes in detail the types of functions that require payment, so evaluate your practices before taking on “volunteers” to help with tastings. Remember, everyone is entitled to at least the state’s minimum wage laws.

Don’t forget about overtime laws.

Just because you have salaried employees does not mean they are exempt from any overtime laws. In fact, their specific job title and duties reflect their eligibility for overtime. If you’re unfamiliar with these laws, research them before refusing to pay your hardworking employees for their extra efforts.

About IFS Insurance

At IFS Insurance, we specialize in protecting homeowners and renters throughout Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Our quality solutions and commitment to excellence has allowed us to serve these states for over 50 years. For more information about our products, we invite you to contact us today at (800) 598-0420.

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