Virtual Kollage: The legal responsibilities of business

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The legal responsibilities of business



LEGAL, SOCIAL AND ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITIES IN BUSINESS
Introduction
Legal social and ethical responsibilities of business have become important because everyday people have become more aware of the fact that a business can no longer simply make money and not be concern about what happens in its environment. Organizations have the right to function. But when they are left alone without being required to do what is right, obey the laws of the land and show concern for the environment they can become companies who are just making money at the expense of the safety and well-being of their workers, suppliers, shareholders and customers. 

LEGAL RESPONSIBILITY OF BUSINESS 
A business is responsible for ensuring that it is Registered 
A business is responsible for its registration. In most countries, doing business without properly registering your business is against the law. As a business owner therefore, one must ensure that his/her business is fully registered or incorporated. Registration, once completed may need to be renewed from time to time. Doing business without registering the company exposes both the “firm’ and anybody doing business with that firm to great risks. This is because where the business is not registered it becomes difficult for the business to sue individuals and companies in court for any damage they may have caused the business. 

A business is responsible for honoring its tax obligation
It is legally required for all businesses to pay taxes on the profit they make. The business is also responsible for ensuring that taxes are paid on the wages(income) paid to its employees, suppliers can also be paid moneys owed them less any taxes they must pay. This is sometimes referred to as withholding taxes. It must be noted that sometime governments may decide to wave the taxes of certain kinds of businesses. For example government may decide to exempt businesses involved in agribusiness or transportation from paying taxes because their services are considered essential to the public. 

A business is responsible for obtaining License for those businesses which need to be specially licensed
Apart from registering as a company, certain businesses may require special licenses before they can be operational. For example, in many countries one needs to obtain a special license after registering a company to be able to operate a Pharmacy, a hospital or operate an alcohol distillery. Where the business is required under the laws of the country to obtain further license, it becomes the responsibility of the business to make sure those licenses are obtained before the firm begins its operations. 

The business is responsible for respecting the terms of Contractual agreement that it enters into 
A contract is a legally binding agreement between two people or bodies. At all times businesses must obey and honour the terms of any contract they sign with either an individual or another company. Failure to honour such contracts may cause the business to be sued in court and fined. Sometimes these breach of contract can cause the business to lose its good reputation in the eye of the public, or among its customers. Another way of saying this is that the company may lose its corporate image. 

Responsibility to ensure Occupational health and safety (OHS) of workers
A business has a duty of care for the health and safety of its employees, contractors, customers and the general public. In most countries, a special department exists which is devoted to developing information and resources to assist small businesses to comply with their Occupational Health and Safety responsibilities. Not complying with OHS regulations can result in incessant injuries to workers, absenteeism due to injuries, and government fines or even a close down of the business entity.
  
Responsible for honouring legal requirement in Selling goods and services
In the sale of certain goods and services, certain laws on Competition and Consumers need to be complied with, these laws differ from country to country. Usually they are meant to prevent businesses from resorting to unfair business practices. These laws may generally include the following: Ensuring that sales agreements do not have unfair conditions or terms; honoring customers’ guarantees; ensuring that the company's products are safe and do not cause any harm to people who use or consume them; complying with rules on sale practices such pricing, and customer information.

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The social responsibilities of business

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