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Long Island Sound business law attorney sexual harassment

COVID-19 has forced many business owners to radically change the way that they run their companies. Many employees are now working from home on a part-time or full-time basis. Meetings are increasingly held via Skype, Zoom, and other video conferencing platforms. Employees may also perform much more of their work duties through phone calls and emails. While it seems that all of this social distancing would prevent sexual harassment at work, sexual harassment continues to be an issue for many workers. As a business owner, having a robust sexual harassment policy that includes information about working from home is key to preventing harassment or discrimination lawsuits.

Sexual Harassment May Take New Forms in the COVID-19 Era

Working from home does not eliminate the possibility of workplace sexual harassment. In fact, many believe that working from home may actually increase the chances of a hostile workplace. Employees may act differently when communicating through email or instant messaging services instead of in-person. People often say things online that they would not say during a face-to-face interaction. Furthermore, having a colleague’s personal cell phone number or seeing into their home via a video call can create a sense of familiarity that may encourage inappropriate comments or jokes. Some employees may even go so far as to send suggestive pictures or videos to other employees.

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Long Island Sound business law attorney

In an efficient business partnership, the partners complement each other’s strengths and compensate for each other’s weaknesses. Together, the partners are able to accomplish more than they could alone. This is the type of partnership that every entrepreneur hopes for. However, quality partnerships like these do not happen by chance. If you are thinking of forming a partnership, it is up to you to research your options, vet potential partners, and avoid key mistakes that could increase the chances of a dispute. Most importantly, work with an experienced business law attorney.

Vet Potential Partners Thoroughly

When starting any business relationship, it is important to avoid naivety. Research potential partners and encourage potential partners to do the same for you. It is important to remember that the way people act around their friends is not necessarily indicative of how they will act in a business setting. Do an Internet search on your potential partner for past bankruptcies or lawsuits filed against him or her and contact his or her references. It may also be in your best interests to hire a professional firm to conduct a criminal background check.

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Stamford, CT business law attorney

In the past several decades, the Internet has become a regular part of most people’s daily lives. Consumers use the Internet for everything from banking to choosing a restaurant. Online reviews can make or break a small business. If you are a Connecticut small business owner, you may be looking for ways to increase your profits and grow your business, especially after the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. Whether you own a retail store, restaurant, marketing company, or another type of business, managing your online reputation is vital. The way that your business handles online reviews can be a major contributor to your business’s success or failure. Potential customers may also be looking at them for information on your company’s continued COVID-19 precautions. 

How Can Online Reviews Influence the Success of a Small Business?

Most consumers want to make an informed decision when it comes to spending their hard-earned money on products or services. Small businesses – especially startups and new businesses – must carefully manage their online presence. Whether the reviews are on Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, or another website, online reviews can make a huge difference. One recent survey conducted by BrightLocal showed that nearly 90 percent of consumers read online reviews for local businesses.

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Fairfield County business law attorney breach of contract

There are many perks to being a business owner, but you must always be vigilant for legal mistakes that could make your company vulnerable to lawsuits. A lawsuit against your small business has the potential to destroy not only the company but your personal finances as well. Preventing lawsuits is a vastly superior strategy compared to dealing with lawsuits once they have already been filed. One of the best ways that you can minimize the chances of your business being the subject of a lawsuit is to work with an experienced business law attorney.

Lawsuits That Could Dramatically Impact Your Business

Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee that your business will never be sued. However, there are many steps you can take to lower the chances of being successfully sued as much as possible. Some of the most common lawsuits affecting small businesses include:

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Stamford, CT business law attorney

When starting a business in Connecticut, one of the most overlooked issues is how to structure the business. The business entity that you choose will have a profound impact on your rights and responsibilities as a business owner. The way your business is taxed, the liability you expose yourself to as a business owner, and several other critical issues are affected by the business entity you select. Choosing the wrong business structure can lead to considerable financial and legal problems.

Deciding How to Structure Your Business

There are many different things to consider when choosing a business entity. One of the most significant differences between LLCs, partnerships, and other business entities is the degree to which the business owner’s personal assets are at risk. This is a major issue to consider when starting your business. You should also consider the tax implications of different business structures and whether you plan to share ownership with one or more individuals.

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Long Island Sound business law attorney

Being a business owner comes with considerable perks. However, owning a business also takes a great deal of time and personal sacrifice. If you are currently a business owner or you plan to become one soon, the end of the year is a great time to take inventory of your situation and re-establish your goals for the new year. It is possible that the COVID-10 pandemic may have affected your company negatively this past year. Evaluating how you are spending your time, money, and effort is important to stay on the path to success and there is no better time to do so than now.

Find Sources of Wasted Time and Resources

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, one of the best skills a business owner can develop is knowing when to give up on a particular project or idea. If you are like most business owners and entrepreneurs, there are projects on which you are spending a considerable amount of your time and energy that are not benefiting you. Think about how you invested your time in 2020. Have the ideas you invested in paid off or have they only led to frustration and dead ends? Beware of falling victim to the sunk cost fallacy. The new year may be the perfect time to abandon fruitless ideas in favor of ideas that have a greater chance of success.

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Stamford, CT business law attorney franchise

If you are ready to become a business owner, one option you may be considering is buying a franchise. Purchasing a franchise location of an existing company is a great way to start your journey into business ownership. Buying a franchise allows you to operate your business while still receiving guidance and leadership from the franchisor. However, a franchise is not the right choice for everyone. If you are thinking about buying a franchise, make sure to speak with an experienced business lawyer so you can avoid costly legal mistakes. Additionally, consider the following factors.

Your Business Goals and Personal Aspirations

Being the owner of a franchise is much different than starting your own business. The benefits of a franchise are plenty. The business will likely be profitable more quickly than a startup, you gain valuable resources and assistance from the parent company, and you benefit from the company’s established reputation. However, buying a franchise also limits the direct input you have on how the business is run. You will be expected to conform to the franchisor’s policies, rules, and procedures. If you are a person who thrives on creativity and independence, buying a franchise may not be the best option for you. However, if you are looking to buy a business that is ready to start operations immediately, a franchise may be the right choice. You will need to evaluate your own goals and aspirations to know whether buying this type of business is the best way to achieve these goals.   

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Greenwich business law attorney noncompete agreement

noncompete agreement, also called a “covenant not to compete,” is a contract that business owners often ask their employees to sign upon employment. Many people underestimate just how important this particular type of contract can be. A noncompete can help you protect your business from unfair competition and ensure that your employees do not use the information and practices they learned through you to undermine your business. However, noncompete clauses must meet certain criteria to be legally enforceable in Connecticut.  This is one reason why it is so important to have an experienced business lawyer review any employee contract for weaknesses or flaws.

How Can A Noncompete Benefit Me?

If you are like most business owners, you have probably put countless hours into your business. You may have honed your business strategies, pricing, sales techniques, marketing campaigns, employee policies and procedures, and other aspects of your business to be as efficient as possible. Even if you still have business goals and personal aspirations that you have not yet achieved, you are most likely closer to those goals now than you were when you first decided to start your company. A noncompete agreement helps protect all of this hard work from being used to benefit a competitor. When an employee signs a noncompete, he or she is agreeing not to work for a competing business for a certain period of time after leaving your company. This prevents the employee from using knowledge about your business to benefit a competitor or even to start his or her own competing business. Noncompete agreements may dissuade employees from leaving your company for a similar position at another company. They may also deter competitors from attempting to steal your most successful employees.

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Stamford, CT business law attorney

Although more and more companies are conducting business virtually these days, the location you choose for your business can have significant consequences. Your location has the potential to literally make or break your business. Choosing the wrong location can lead to financial problems, legal headaches, and fewer customers. However, many entrepreneurs and new business owners underestimate the importance of choosing the right business location. When deciding where to headquarter your startup, make sure to consider the following tips.

Focus on Increasing Customer Accessibility

You have probably already spent a great deal of time thinking about how to price your products and services. However, have you considered how accessibility could impact your profitability? Many shoppers are willing to pay slightly higher prices if a store or business is easy to get to or adjacent to an establishment they are already planning to visit. When choosing a location, consider how many of your customers will arrive on foot versus the number of customers who will drive. Make sure not to forget about parking concerns.

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Norwalk business attorney

Business ownership has numerous perks. You get to “be your own boss” and manage the business exactly the way you want. However, becoming a business owner also involves substantial risk. Studies show that about 20 percent of small businesses fail within a year. Many of the common mistakes business owners make can have substantial legal consequences. The best way to lessen the chances of your business failing is to avoid these crucial errors. In addition, an experienced business attorney can help you with the legal aspect of owning your own company.

Business Mistakes You Should Avoid

As the old adage goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” If you are interested in starting your own business or buying an existing business, educating yourself about the legal steps involved in business ownership is crucial. Some of the most common mistakes new business owners make are also some of the most consequential.

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Fairfield County business law attorney employee handbook

If you are a small business owner, you probably have a close relationship with your employees. You may believe that your employees know what is required of them and will continue to meet your expectations – even if those expectations have only been implied. Unfortunately, this type of thinking has gotten some business owners into hot water. Although you are likely overwhelmed with concerns that appear to be more immediate, the importance of creating a comprehensive employee handbook cannot be overstated. By putting your expectations, procedures, and policies in writing, you reduce your vulnerability to legal actions and increase your team’s productivity.

Protecting Your Business Against Lawsuits

As your business grows, you will likely hire more and more employees. It is certainly possible that some of these employees will not end up being a good fit for your business. This is one important reason why you need clear policies regarding employee expectations, disciplinary actions, and termination. If you do not have a consistent method for evaluating employees and recording any problems, you could be accused of discrimination in a wrongful termination lawsuit. Furthermore, creating these policies helps employees understand exactly what is expected of them. The key is to make sure you create policies that are realistic and achievable. Consistently abide by the policies you have put in place and do not forget to record any disciplinary actions you are taking.

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