The basic legal environment of business is governed by state, country and international laws. This includes laws on what can or can not be produced or sold, consumer and employee protection laws, tax and other financial laws, as well a many rules and regulations with regards to business ethics, when and how to seek legal advice in case of disputes, etc.
- Laws on Production or Sales
The production or sale of certain goods is prohibited, or at least severely restricted in many countries. This includes, among others, selling of dangerous drugs, guns and explosives, for instance. Aerosol cans containing CFCs, which are harmful to the environment, or more specifically, the ozone layer, are banned and no longer produced.
Most countries have laws ensuring customers are being treated fairly by businesses. This includes the act regulating weights and measurements, ensuring that goods sold actually are the weight or size they are sold at, and the Trade Description Act, making misleading descriptions of products illegal.
Other laws include the Consumer Credit Act, ensuring consumers are aware of loan durations, interest rates etc when taking out a loan, as well as receiving copies of credit agreements, and the Sale of Goods Act, making it illegal to sell faulty or damaged goods. The return of goods and refunds, etc, are also governed by laws.
Laws to protect employees include laws against unfair discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or age; laws against unfair dismissal and sexual or other harassment; health and safety laws and laws regulating minimum wages. Many countries make written contracts between employer and employees mandatory.
These laws vary between countries, but generally regulate accountancy practices, interest rates on loans, taxes etc. Businesses are expected to provide sufficient documentation of income and expenditure, for instance.