Business owners in California and around the country are often concerned about their public image. In some cases, accusations of misconduct can lead to class-action lawsuits, creating a media frenzy and multiple legal and public relations nightmares.

An example of this is a recent class-action lawsuit filed by consumers of Ulta Beauty, a retail cosmetics store. The lawsuit alleges that Ulta instructed its managers and employees to repackage returned cosmetics and sell them as new on the sales floor. Social media got a hold of this story, and there are reports of individuals claiming to be former store employees who support these claims.

Ulta Beauty has responded by stating that it will vigorously defend itself against these accusations. At this time, it is unclear as to how the case will move forward. However, because of the social media component, the retailer is forced into a position of doing damage control while managing necessary litigation.

Businesses of all sizes are vulnerable to accusations, some of which may be untrue and even malicious. In some cases, accusations can lead to lawsuits, including class-action lawsuits, that are supported by consumer outrage and a desire for financial compensation. Such situations require careful management on the part of business owners and executives.

A business owner who is threatened with litigation, or already facing a lawsuit, may benefit from speaking with a lawyer experienced in business litigation. The attorney may be able to review the client’s situation and make recommendations regarding the best steps to take in defending the company’s reputation and finances. If necessary, the lawyer may be able to negotiate opposing counsel or, if appropriate, file a countersuit.