Phoenix Small Business Lawyers
When you start a small business, you take on many legal responsibilities. As your business grows, you must continue managing legal risks and employment expectations. Our Phoenix small business attorneys have decades of experience with these issues. We understand that your small business is your dream, and we are committed to providing the highest quality legal guidance to protect it.
Assessing Liability and Eliminating Risks with a Small Business Consulting Lawyer
Consulting a lawyer early in your company’s development can reduce partnership disagreements and employee litigation later. The steps for small business owners to take to measure responsibility and avoid risks include:
- Choosing the right business structure,
- Getting insurance,
- Using contracts,
- Complying with laws and regulations,
- Implementing clear policies and procedures, and
- Managing risk.
Our legal team is well-versed in the risks and requirements of small business ownership. With over 30 years of experience in this area, we have developed efficient processes and procedures to ensure that small business owners comply with all relevant laws and regulations.
Managing Growth: Protecting your Competitive Advantage
Managing growth in a small business often involves hiring new employees and giving additional responsibilities to existing employees. One way to protect your business interests during this process is to use non-compete, non-solicitation, and confidentiality agreements. Another essential piece is a thoughtful, instructive employee handbook and anti-discrimination policy.
Non-compete agreements can prevent employees from working for a competitor or starting their own competing business after they leave your company. Non-solicitation agreements prohibit employees from soliciting customers or employees of your company for a specified time after their employment ends. Confidentiality agreements require employees to keep secret business information, like trade secrets.
Incorporating these types of agreements into employment contracts can help to protect your business’s competitive advantage and prevent sensitive information from being disclosed to competitors.
Designing an employee handbook can also be an effective way to manage growth and protect your business interests. A handbook should outline your company’s policies, procedures, and expectations for employee conduct. This can help ensure that all employees know the rules and are held to the same standards.
Some key areas to include in an employee handbook might be policies on harassment, discrimination, and workplace safety, as well as information on benefits, vacation and leave policies, and disciplinary procedures.
Small Business Contract Negotiation
A small business contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties that outlines the terms and conditions of a business relationship. You will use contracts in many situations, like hiring employees, forming partnerships, and hiring vendors to offer goods or services. When negotiating contracts, a lawyer can help small businesses by:
- Reviewing and interpreting contracts to accurately reflect the party’s agreement and avoid complexity and ambiguity;
- Advising on any potential legal risks and how to mitigate those risks.
- Negotiating more favorable terms, like pricing or payment terms; and
- Drafting contracts that clearly outline the rights and responsibilities of each party.
A small business contract may be written or oral and may be formal or informal. Still, consider having an attorney to ensure the deal goes as planned.
Compliance is the process of conforming to applicable laws, rules, and industry standards. By maintaining compliance, businesses can avoid expensive fines, lawsuits, and reputational damage.
There are several critical compliance matters for small business owners to be aware of:
- Federal and state employment laws—minimum wage, overtime, discrimination, and workplace safety laws;
- Tax laws—income tax, sales tax, and payroll taxes.
- Health and safety regulations—establish safety procedures, provide employees with protective gear, and make sure the workplace is safe and clean;
- Environmental regulations—depending on the industry, these include regulations on air and water quality, waste management, and hazardous material handling;
- Industry-specific regulations—industries such as healthcare, finance, and food service may be subject to industry-specific regulations.
We help small businesses regularly review and update their policies and procedures to ensure they follow all relevant laws and regulations.
EEOC Charge Defense for Small Businesses
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency that enforces laws prohibiting employment discrimination. If an individual believes they have been the victim of employment discrimination, they may file a charge with the EEOC.
If an employer receives an EEOC charge, it is crucial to take the matter seriously and respond promptly. Here are some steps to defend against an EEOC charge.
- Gather information: Assemble all relevant documents and information related to the charge, including any relevant policies or procedures.
- Review the charge: Carefully review the charge to understand the allegations and determine the best course of action.
- Consider mediation: The EEOC may offer mediation to resolve the dispute. If you are interested in pursuing mediation, we will help you consider the advantages and drawbacks of this option.
- Respond to the EEOC: Respond to the EEOC in writing, providing a detailed explanation of their position and any supporting documentation.
- Cooperate with the EEOC investigation: Cooperate with the EEOC’s investigation, provide any requested information, and allow access to relevant records and employees.
- Consider legal representation: If the EEOC determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred, our attorneys can provide guidance on how to defend against the charge and potentially negotiate a settlement.
Employers must take EEOC charges seriously and respond promptly to defend against the allegations. Our attorneys advise on compliance, policies and processes, responding to charges, defending EEOC claims, and negotiating settlements.
Your Phoenix Small Business Attorneys: Shields Petitti & Zoldan
A law firm that focuses on consulting small businesses offers services to help owners tackle legal issues as they start and grow. The attorneys at Shields Petitti & Zoldan are leaders in the employment field. We help business owners create employment policies and handbooks that avoid conflicts. We will guide you through risk assessment, mitigation, and compliance. If a dispute does arise, we will help you fight for what is right and won’t back down until you reach a satisfying resolution. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our Phoenix Small Business Lawyers.