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April 2017 Archives

Where to start with a start-up

When you are starting up a business in Pennsylvania, you will likely have several details to pay attention to. Your company’s location, logo, business model and goals will all need to be decided, as will the financial aspects, suppliers and marketers. While all of this can be overwhelming, there are certain areas that require more attention than others, and one of those is the legal side of running a business. We at Kisner Law Firm are here to help you with every step of the legal processes in start-up businesses.

 

One of the top five tips offered by Entrepreneur.com is to make sure that, above all, nothing about your business is contrary to the law. The fastest way to derail all your planning, time and effort is to take a wrong step and find yourself with penalties and denied applications. You will likely rely heavily on your local government’s approval and support in order to be given the chance to run a business, so it is best to be sure you are following their rules. If officials notice anything illegal about your company, they may revoke your business license and invoke expensive penalties.

 

The process of obtaining approval can be lengthy, which can frustrate and curtail other business plans. Experts recommend doing what you can before you are compliant. If it is possible, run certain aspects of the business while you wait on licenses for others.

 

Running a business successfully also means operating legally. For more information on how to do this, visit our web page.

Protect your business from wrongful termination suits

While many business owners in Pennsylvania are aware of the risks that can arise when an employee is no longer performing and needs to be terminated, they may not know how to mitigate these risks and protect themselves and their businesses properly from liability.

 

One part of mitigating both the professional and personal risk of termination is to have a formal termination process that involves documentation and proactive employee management. According to the Penn Record, this process helped to defeat an employee’s wrongful termination case at a Philadelphia hospital both in the original trial and on appeal. Although the employee claimed she was terminated due to age discrimination, the hospital had documentation of a series of complaints against the employee. In addition to recording the issues, management officially addressed the complaints and put the employee on an “employee action plan, before being subject to formal discipline.” By the time the final incident occurred that led to termination, the hospital had a clearly documented pattern of mistakes and opportunities for the employee to receive direction to improve.

 

As Business Management Daily notes, it is especially important for small business owners to understand and comply with not only federal but also local and state discrimination laws, which may expose them to personal liability in termination decisions. Not only did an employee bring a case against the medical practice that employed her, she also individually sued the doctors who ran the practice for discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, the latter of which allows for personal liability to apply to all “staff members who are involved in making termination decisions.” The case against all parties has been permitted to move forward, and serves as a reminder that terminating an employee can carry significant risks.

 

 

Small business contracts: What you should know

Small businesses come with a considerable amount of stress, financial planning, developing and emotions. You, as well as many other small business owners, have poured your heart and soul over the development of your small business. As a result of all of this work, you will most likely want to put some safeguards in place that will protect your little treasure and keep it prosperous for years to come. At Kisner Law Firm, LLC, we know that there are some contracts that are crucial when protecting your business.

Partnership agreements are a must when you are going into business with someone else, even if it is a close friend or family member. These contracts spell out who contributes what to the company when it comes to labor, cash, property, time and customers. Furthermore, the contract determines who is to be paid what. Is there a salary involved or does the money go back into the investment? Also, it is critical to name who has the decision-making power in the company. When these terms are spelled out, it minimizes the room for conflict later on down the road.

Non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements are also important, as they keep people from sharing the trade secrets of your business to potential competition. Once signed, people cannot disclose any information regarding your marketing plan, finances, business plan, client list of the future plans for your company.

Other contracts, such as independent contractor contracts or non-compete agreements may also be essential to your company. To learn more about protecting your small business, visit our page on employment contracts. 

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Kisner Law Firm, LLC
Gulf Tower
707 Grant St., Suite 2646
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
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Fax: 412-235-6704

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