Los Angeles Business Law Blog

Tips for preventing disputes when your employee is family

Many employers in small- or medium-sized companies hire family members to work for them. Employers might do this as a favor to their loved one or because they want to hire someone they can trust.

Whatever reasons an employer has for hiring family, they would be wise to protect themselves and the company in the event of a dispute. There are a few ways to do this.

When you could be liable for your employees’ driving habits

Transportation plays a critical role in today’s workforce, whether people work in the transportation industry or travelling is just a part of their job. As an employer, you probably have in place specific policies related to traveling, from approving expenses to tracking work hours away from the office.

These policies can prevent disputes with employees and lawsuits, so it is critical to have them. And it is important that they address the full range of travel-related behaviors, including driving habits of your employees who drive a company vehicle or in the scope of their employment.

Bad Faith Negotiation Tactics to Know and Avoid

Negotiating a partnership, commercial lease, settlement or other type of agreement in California can be a tedious process. However, as difficult as these negotiations are, they can become even more challenging when the parties attempt to memorialize the agreement in writing – particularly if one party attempts to employ bad faith tactics. A recent article from the New York Law Journal describes how such efforts can sabotage good faith negotiations, so it is helpful to understand what these tactics are. Below are some examples of what these might look like.

Negotiating without an interest in reaching an agreement

Report: Construction Disputes Taking Longer to Resolve

Construction disputes are not uncommon across California, whether parties clash over construction defects, enforcing the terms of a contract or liability issues. Often, there are several parties involved in a single project, which means there are plenty of opportunities for arguments, oversights and errors, which can and do lead to legal disputes.

Unfortunately, as a recent report from Arcadis shows, these disputes are not getting any easier to resolve.

Landlord-Tenant Disputes Can Adversely Affect Others

Leasing commercial space is vital for business owners across California. They want to find the right space for the right price in the right neighborhood. Once they find such a location, holding on to it can be a top priority.

New CA law requires female representation on board of directors

California business owners should be aware of a recent announcement by Gov. Jerry Brown. According to a law he signed last week, California will be the first state in the U.S. to require certain types of companies to have female representation on their boards of directors.

Currently, the measure applies only to publicly traded companies headquartered in California. However, it sends a message to every current and prospective entrepreneur that the business environment in this state is changing.

Do I Need An Independent Contractor Agreement?

The short answer to the question in the headline is: yes. If you hire or are an independent contractor, you should have this type of agreement in place.

An independent contractor agreement can be a critical tool in defining expectations and rules for a professional relationship. Below, we examine what you should include in these agreements as well as what you can do if a dispute arises.

Why it’s important to proactively defend your IP

A business’s intellectual property is one of its most important aspects. Intellectual property (“IP”) is an original idea or product created by your business. In today’s information age, it can be easier than ever to find yourself entrenched in a legal battle over IP. That’s why it’s more important than ever to defend a new business idea as soon as it is created.

It may seem like an unnecessary step, after all you don’t expect a new idea to be poached before you can act on it. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what can happen. Companies need to be aggressive in defending their intellectual property. This can include creating a comprehensive plan for copyrights, trademarks and licensing agreements.

Must an Agreement be in Writing to be Enforceable?

Contracts are necessary to the stability and success of just about any business, whether they are with certain employees, partners, vendors, customers or clients. In order to make sure they function as anticipated, it is important that they be valid, well-crafted and enforceable. Otherwise, it may not be binding or, even worse, operate to the detriment of your company contrary to how it was intended.

Obviously, it's best to retain an experienced lawyer to create a customized contract tailored specifically to your business and its needs. Should you decide to take on this responsibility yourself, you should be familiar with the types of contracts that are not enforceable. For instance, did you know that a contract may not need to be in writing to be enforceable?

Protecting Intellectual Property for Individuals

Previously in this blog, we have discussed how important it is for businesses to protect their intellectual property. However, protecting intellectual property is not something reserved for business entities; individuals can also benefit from such protections.

If you work in certain capacities - like design, writing or other creative roles - it can be important for you to understand what intellectual property you might have, as well as why you should protect it.

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