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Business Regulations

Companies operating in the U.S. must adhere to a patchwork of federal, state, and local regulations meant to balance the interests of business with those of the public as a whole. This section provides an overview of business regulations and information to help businesses become compliant, including links to important federal regulatory forms, state-specific links to information and contacts pertaining to licenses and permits, and a collection of links to important federal business regulations.

Compliance Assistance

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) regulates many business activities and "compliance" in a business context frequently refers specifically to the employer's compliance with DOL regulations regarding to employer/employee relations and workplace conditions. Complying with DOL regulations requires following regulations and laws relating to:

  • Wages & Hours Worked
  • Benefits: Health, Retirement, and Leave
  • Hiring Issues
  • Termination Issues
  • Equal Opportunity
  • Safety and Health In the Workplace
  • Whistleblower and Non-Retaliation Protections
  • Plant Closings and Layoffs
  • Unions and Union Members
  • Posters
  • Recordkeeping

In addition to regulation of these issues by the federal government it is important to be mindful of the fact that states and localities may issue their own regulations on these and other topics that also require businesses within their jurisdiction to remain compliant with their terms. Links to state-specific regulations and information about compliance are available in the links below.

Strip Club Laws and the Regulation of Sexually Oriented Business

Sexually oriented businesses (SOB) such as a strip club, a sexually explicit theater, an adult video store, or other kinds of adult oriented businesses are subject to regulations above and beyond the typical regulations that all businesses are subject to. These regulations may severely restrict or ban activities significantly and are best considered well in advance of establishing a new business. Common regulations include:

  • Zoning - Zoning laws impact many different kinds of businesses, but SOBs may be subject to additional restrictions that prevent opening an SOB close to a school or church, or ban SOBs from designated areas such as the downtown commercial district of a city. Zoning laws specific to SOBs are valid as long as they are intended to minimize the negative effects of these businesses.
  • Alcohol - Some local ordinances prevent the service of alcohol in certain kinds of SOBs. In Las Vegas, for example, topless clubs may serve alcohol, but fully nude clubs may not.
  • Age Requirements - Most ordinances set a minimum age for patrons, frequently 18 years and older or 21 and older where alcohol is served.
  • Nudity Rules - Some localities ban full nudity, require nipple or genital covering, or allow full nudity only if alcohol is not served.
  • Contact with Patrons - Some regulations permit "lap dancing," or other forms of limited contact, while others have strict distances that performers must keep between themselves and patrons.
  • Licensing - Some jurisdictions require exotic dancers to register, maintain a valid license, and pass a background check in order to perform.
  • Taxation - Texas and some other jurisdictions require the collection of fees to be remitted to the state. The Texas fee is paid into a foundation for victims of rape.
Learn About Business Regulations