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What is the “Commerce Clause?”

February 15th, 2017
Commerce Clause

When you think of laws that regulate your business, you may first think of New Jersey state laws. After all, the state has many regulations regarding business, employment, safety, and more that apply to companies of all types and sizes. However, the federal government also has laws that apply to businesses and Congress has the authority to enact and enforce such laws under a provision in the Constitution of the United States called the “Commerce Clause.”

Power Under the Commerce Clause

The Commerce Clause gives Congress the power to “regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.” For decades, Congress has used the “among the several states” specification to regulate any business that engages in interstate commerce. Engaging in interstate commerce is a broadly defined term, as even a restaurant next to an interstate highway has been deemed to be involved in interstate commerce, as people from other states would likely stop to eat there. In addition, any business that delivers goods or services to customers in other states would definitely be subject to federal commerce laws.

If your business is engaged in interstate commerce – which it likely is – you must be aware of all federal laws that may apply to your business because the Commerce Clause puts your company subject to such federal regulations.

Examples of Federal Regulations for Businesses

There are many federal regulations that apply to businesses, including the following:

  • Anti-discrimination laws – Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal laws prevent workplace discrimination and harassment based on race, religion, sex, disability, age, and several other factors.
  • FMLA – The Family and Medical Leave Act requires that certain employers provide a specific amount of unpaid family or medical leave time with job protection for qualified employees.
  • Labor laws – Federal labor laws outline requirements such as minimum wage, hours worked, overtime payments, and more.
  • Reporting laws – Certain companies must comply with the law by reporting certain information regarding the financial state of the business to the government and to investors to prevent misconduct or fraud.
  • Tax laws – The IRS has many business-related tax laws, including how income tax is withheld for employees and how profits or losses are reported for companies.

Call 732 238-8686 today for more information.

Because of the number of federal and state laws that can apply to your business, it is important to have the representation of a business consulting attorney who can help ensure you are in compliance with the law. Please call the law office of Bowne Barry & Barry for additional information today.