Don’t Play Small with Your Small Business

Disregard for legalities can lead to unnecessary expenses. Too often small business owners make professional agreements with a simple handshake, placing their trust in a friend or acquaintance because they believe it’s easier, quicker, and cheaper than consulting an attorney. Whether you run a regional chain of restaurants, a professional consulting firm or simply rent out a residential property, it pays to make sure your contracts and commitments are legally accurate and binding.

A recent client of Kevin J. Moore and Associates, the owner of a multi-unit residential building, discovered the importance of legal documentation the hard way. It seemed like a great idea to offer a good worker at his company the role of live-in property manager at a building he owned. In exchange for being onsite and performing certain tasks like repairs and administrative work, the property manager would receive some wages and free rent.

The informal deal worked for everyone involved – until it didn’t. The property manager filed suit, claiming a whole host of employment laws had been violated including some labor codes and failure to pay minimum wage. Because the building owner didn’t have a legal agreement, the case became far more complicated than necessary.

A that point, the business owner faced a legal emergency. He turned to the business litigation attorneys at Kevin J. Moore and Associates who picked up the case and began the business litigation defense process. As the suit progressed, the property manager’s story proved contradictory – he claimed he worked full time as a plumber and also worked full time as a property manager and wanted compensation as a full time employee from the building owner. In the end, the attorneys at Kevin J. Moore and Associates filed a demurrer and challenged the sufficiency of the allegations and the case was settled in mediation.

Though the building owner ultimately paid less than he would have if he’d capitulated to the original complaint, the better route is to always make legal any business agreements, no matter how well you know or how much you trust the person with whom you’re dealing. The attorneys at Kevin J. Moore and Associates can help set up employment agreements and numerous other legal tools to help keep your business protected.

Small business owners who try to be “nice” or “flexible” can find themselves in legal gray areas ripe for litigation. A few of the areas in which small businesses may stumble include classifying all employees as exempt when they may not be, letting hourly employees skip lunch breaks to leave work earlier, or failing to provide certain training on sexual harassment and discrimination. Consider reviewing your small business practices with an attorney like the experts at Kevin J. Moore and Associates to keep you out of the courtroom. They are also here to help when you need legal assistance with business litigation.

Kevin Moore, Founder of Kevin J. Moore & Associates, is focused in the areas of estate planning, trusts and probate services with additional expertise in both domestic and international business transactions and tax planning and tax controversy representation for individuals and companies.