The Legal Environment of Business

I.     Course Prefix/Number: BUS 225

       Course Name: The Legal Environment of Business

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course presents deeper understanding of current business organization. Topic focus is on role of the federal government in balancing rights of the individual and business in a free enterprise system within framework of the U. S. Constitution.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. To introduce the legal aspects of business.
  2. To recognize the general rights and duties of the individual in common forms of business.
  3. To understand the rights of persons as individuals and as members of business organizations.
  4. To explain and understand the general legal rules, guidelines, and restraints placed upon business by the Federal Government.
  5. To make the individual aware of the instances in which professional legal advice may be necessary.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Unit One: The Foundations

Chapter 1 Business and Its Legal Environment

What is Law? The Common Law Tradition, Sources of American Law Civil Law versus Criminal Law, Terms and Concepts to Review; Questions and Case Problems; Accessing the Internet Finding and Analyzing the Law, Finding Statutory Law; Finding Administrative Law, Finding Case Law, How to Read and Understand Case Law.

Chapter 2 The Court System

The Judiciary's Role in American Government; Basic Judicial Requirements; The State and Federal Court Systems; Judicial Procedures: Following a Case through the Courts; Terms and Concepts to Review; Questions and Case Problems.

Unit Two: The Public and International Environment

Chapter 5 Constitutional Law

The Constitutional Powers of Government; Business and the Bill of Rights; Due Process and Equal Protection; Privacy Rights; Terms and Concepts to Review; Questions and Case Problems.

Chapter 6 Administrative Law

Agency Creation and Powers; Administrative Process; Limitations on Agency Powers; Public Accountability; State Administrative Agencies; Terms and Concepts to review; Questions and Case Problems.

Chapter 7 Criminal Law

Civil Law and Criminal Law; Classification of Crimes; Essentials of Criminal Liability; Corporate Criminal Liability; Types of Crimes; Defenses to Criminal Liability; Criminal Procedures; Terms and Concepts to Review; Questions and Case Problems.

Unit Three: The Commercial Environment

Chapter 12 Torts and Cyber Torts

Torts Related to Business; Basis of Tort Law, Intentional Torts Against Persons and Business Relationships; Intentional Torts against Property; Terms and Concepts to Review; Questions and Case Problems.

Chapter 15 Creditor-Debtor Relations and Bankruptcy

Laws Assisting Creditors; Suretyship and Guaranty; Protection for Debtors; Bankruptcy and Reorganization; Terms and Concepts to Review; Questions and Case Problems.

Chapter 17/18 Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships Sections 1-3 of Chapters 17 and 18

Sole Proprietorships; Partnerships; Limited Liability Companies; Limited Liability Partnerships; Limited Liability Limited Partnerships; Other Organizational Forms; Terms and Concepts to Review; Questions and Case Problems.

Unit Five: The Employment Environment

Chapter 19 Agency

Agency Relationships-Formation of the Agency Relationship; Duties of Agents and Principals; Remedies and Rights of Agents and Principles; Liability for Contracts; Liability for Agent's Torts; Liability for Agent's Crimes; Termination of an Agency; Terms and Concepts to Review, Questions and Case Problems.

Chapter 20 Employment Relationships

Wage-Hour Laws; Worker Health and Safety; Income Security; COBRA; Family and Medical Leave; Employee Privacy Rights; Employment-Related Immigration Laws; Wrongful Discharge; Statutory Protection for Whistleblowers; Terms and Concepts to Review; Questions and Case Problems.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Lectures and Discussion by Instructor
  2. Assigned Readings with Class Discussion
  3. Use of Relevant Current Events

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. Reading Assignments
  2. Attendance in Class
  3. Participation in class discussion

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Text: Cross and Miller, West's Legal Environment of Business, Fifth Edition, West Publishing Company, 2004

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

  1. Participation in class discussions
  2. Preparation of assigned materials
  3. Attendance
  4. Performance on exams
*Examinations and extra credit points will be the sole basis for grades except in borderline cases, which may be influenced by class participation showing evidence of preparation. Terminology of the subject matter is a part of each examination, and a source for extra credit.

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.