November 17, 2023
About four in ten small businesses are threatened with a civil lawsuit every year. Anywhere between 36% and 53% of small businesses will actually be sued, and nine out of ten small businesses will be sued at some point in their lifetime.
Not all businesses are prepared for when a lawsuit is filed against them. Many wait until they have been summoned to court before seeking legal advice. This can put them at a disadvantage in responding effectively to legal actions.
For small businesses, it is essential to know the early warning signs that it’s time to consult a lawyer for employer defense.
Signs That You Need to Legal Counsel
When you consult a business law attorney proactively, you can be better prepared to address a lawsuit if one is filed. Your attorney will have time to review relevant documents, speak with witnesses about the matter, and consider how best to respond to the situation.
If you are facing any of these situations, consulting a qualified small business lawyer may be in your best interests:
You Have to Fire a Difficult Employee
Employment-related decisions can be tough to make. And when an employee has violated your policy or committed an act for which you believe termination is appropriate, the risk of a wrongful termination lawsuit is heightened.
Before you terminate the employee, ensure that their misconduct is well-documented. A small business lawyer can assist you in conducting an internal investigation to locate and preserve evidence, if necessary.
Your lawyer can also guide you in how to deliver the notice of termination to the employee and how to handle yourself in the event of a confrontation.
Your Intellectual Property Is Being Used Without Your Permission
Intellectual property disputes can involve the authorized use of your company’s trademarks, written creations, processes, and other invaluable but intangible property. When this happens, your business’s reputation and competitive edge are all on the line.
Employ a skilled and knowledgeable lawyer to help you build your case and respond swiftly to minimize the harm that is caused by unauthorized intellectual property use.
You Receive a Whistleblower Report or Complaint
Some HR departments fear having a whistleblower come forward and allege illegal or unethical misconduct. However, such reports can be a blessing in disguise if you use them as an occasion to retain a lawyer and address the underlying situation. An effective response to a whistleblower can stop a later lawsuit from being filed.
Any response to a whistleblower’s report should be prompt and thorough, and it should not be seen as retaliatory toward the whistleblower. A lawyer who is involved in your business’s response can help you assess the gravity and veracity of the whistleblower’s complaint and how best to respond to it.
Retaining an attorney at this stage can also put you in a stronger position to address any government inquiry or lawsuit that might follow.
You Need to Change Contracts or Policies
When you need to renegotiate contracts, you should employ an attorney to help you draft them. Vague contracts or contracts whose terms do not adequately address all the material terms of a matter are an invitation for future disputes and litigation.
However, by employing an attorney up front to help you, you can avoid costly disruptions and legal distractions. Similarly, an attorney’s involvement in creating or updating your company’s policies can help avoid future litigation.
Your policies should guide your business’s operations and can insulate you against charges of discriminatory or arbitrary employment actions. But if the policies themselves are illegal, discriminatory, or open for discretion, their potential benefit can be blunted.
You Are Considering a Change in Your Business Operations
Innovation is the lifeblood of the corporate world, and it is what helps your business stay relevant and competitive. It is one thing to innovate new products, services, or ways to get your name out to your customers; it is another to come up with unusual or unorthodox ways of managing your employees or keeping records.
When you are considering a course of action that is both out-of-the-box and can impact the management of your human resources, you need to understand the implications of that decision from all angles.
It is far easier and less costly to consult with an attorney before taking any such action as opposed to addressing any complaints or lawsuits that may follow after implementation.
You Are Served With a Lawsuit
It is never too late to bring a lawyer’s knowledge and skill to your situation. Instead of attempting to handle a dispute yourself and retaining a lawyer later on, you will want to consider hiring an attorney as soon as possible after being served with a summons.
Although you may not relish the idea of spending money for legal representation right away, doing so can minimize your overall cost. If you wait to hire an attorney, your business lawyer will need more time to become familiar with your situation and what has happened in the matter.
The longer your case has gone on, the greater the chance that decisions have been made that negatively impact your case. Your attorney would then need to take appropriate action going forward and find ways to minimize the harm of any past procedural or substantive errors.
Prevention Is Key: Find a Small Business Lawyer You Can Trust
Don’t wait for legal challenges to arise – proactively safeguard your business with the expertise of a small business lawyer for employer defense. Take the first step in securing your business’s future by contacting Pearlman, Brown & Wax, LLP today.
Finding the right business lawyer is crucial, and we understand that it takes time to evaluate resources and qualifications. Start your search before potentially costly situations emerge so you can act swiftly when necessary.
Trust a business lawyer with a proven track record of representing small businesses across various scenarios, both inside and outside the courtroom. By embracing a proactive approach and consulting with a business lawyer early on, you can fortify your business against potential legal challenges.
Contact Pearlman, Brown & Wax, LLP now – let us be your partner in building a resilient and legally secure future for your business. Don’t leave the fate of your business to chance; take control by reaching out to us today.