Opening a private practice: employment law points to remember

You’ve trained for years as a clinician, working hard to earn the credentials you need to succeed as a professional. You’re ready to open a private practice. What now?

Those next steps can trip up many licensed professionals – speech pathologists, audiologists, social workers, physical therapists, psychologists, chiropractors, and more. Medical professionals such as doctors, dentists, and optometrists also can struggle when they realize that, while they are highly skilled in their professions, operating a business is unfamiliar territory.

Burnette Shutt & McDaniel attorneys Malissa Burnette and Grant Burnette LeFever recently spoke about these challenges to the South Carolina Speech Language Hearing Association state convention. The two are employment lawyers in Columbia, SC, and their presentation gave an overview of employment law points to remember when opening a private practice. These include:

  • The difference between employees and independent contractors.
  • Problems that can arise, for both the business and the worker, when an employee is misclassified as an independent contractor.
  • When workers receive 1099 forms and when they receive W2 forms.
  • Minimum wage, overtime pay and record-keeping requirements under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Federal and state laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and South Carolina’s PUMP Act that protects nursing mothers.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.

Employment law attorneys who guide business owners

Though it’s tempting to rely on self-help books and web sites for information and templates, that’s a bad idea. The advice found there usually isn’t state specific and often isn’t current with the law.

Running afoul of laws can come at a steep cost, too. Business owners can face fines and criminal charges. Even if the violation is accidental, correcting it can be costly and time-consuming, the attorneys told the group. The best way to head off problems is to consult a skilled employment lawyer from the start.

Barring that, employers should take corrective action quickly if issues come to light. “The longer the delay, the deeper the pain and the greater the expense,” Burnette said.

The employment law attorneys at Burnette Shutt & McDaniel can guide small-business owners through employment law issues when they’re forming their business and as the business grows. They can work to create employment policies and job descriptions that help protect the business. They also are available to talk to nonprofits and trade groups about employment law issues.

Call Burnette Shutt & McDaniel today at 803.850.0912 or email to find out more.