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Here are some responses we've received in a recent questionnaire for small business owners in Texas. Over 400 small businesses participated in our yearly survey:
"Setting up a trademark." -DK Electricians
"While not, business-related, we needed help with a will." -Cates Quick Moving, LLC
"Moving to a new physical location." -J & J Sod Grass Company
"Advice with adding a partner." -Fiberglass Pool Repair Maids
Other common answers included "adding a partner" and "setting up an S-Corp". These are typically the same results we've seen in the past when polling companies in the Dallas area. We will be expanding our questionnaire nation-wide in 2020.
You get home from an interview and suddenly start wondering whether it was right that the interviewer asked you about your plans to raise a family. Or perhaps you've been working in a company for some time and someone you believe is less qualified than you has just been promoted above.
Maybe your boss has been taunting me with remarks think are inappropriate for the workplace. If you find yourself with questions about your rights at work, it may be time to learn more about employment and overtime law.
Employers have a lot of we way to hire, promote, and fire employees. But the employment relationship is not completely one-sided. As an employee, you have rights, too, and this is especially true when it comes to overtime hours.
Employment law changes rapidly. Variations in state law can drastically affect your legal rights and how you can enforce. It is important that the lawyer you hire has experience in the situation you face and is knowledgeable about the current state of the law.
Many lawyers will take cases on a contingency basis, meaning you only pay if you win, in the fee comes out of the award to recover. This is usually around 30 to 40% of the total. If you are hiring a lawyer for a specific transactions like negotiating in employment or severance agreement, you need to find out what the lawyer charges.
When your case involves a problem network like overtime hours, you may be uncomfortable handling calls with your lawyer from the office. You need to know if and when your employment lawyer can be contacted after business hours.
Employment law also covers your rights when trying to get a job. Four instance, there are certain types of interview questions that are considered off limits for employers questioning job candidates. Generally, these include questions about your marital status, age, religion, race, medical history, and so on.
If you are asked a question about any of these topics, you have a right not to answer in your failure to answer should not affect your chance of getting the job.
A noncompete agreement essentially restricts your ability to seek certain type of employment for a defined period (often a year or two, but this varies) if employment with your current company ends. This is usually put into place to prevent trade secrets from getting into the hands of competing companies.
As an example, if you are a developer for a mobile app that relates to the restaurant industry, your employer may ask that you don't go and work for a competing app company targeting restaurants. These agreements are not always enforceable and are even illegal in some states.
However, when enforceable, they must be reasonable in length and scope. A non-compete contract that states, for example, that you can never work for another app company anywhere in the United States for the rest of your life would be ridiculous. Again, the accepted length of time on such agreements is usually a year or two.
If you feel uncomfortable signing such a form, or if the verbiage jumps out at you as being unreasonable, contact a local attorney today and have them review the contract. It's always best to be safe than sorry.
If I have a lemon law complaint that I handle on my own, why should I get a lawyer involved?
This depends on where you live, which manufacturer you're dealing with, and whether your dealership is helpful.
Lawyers with experience in this area will know the ins and outs of dealing with different car makers. In some states, your attorney's fees will be paid for your if you win. Whatever you do, save all your records and your receipts, because the burden will be on you to prove that you made the proper attempts to have the car repair and that you complied with all relevant time limits.
Also, if you car has a condition that deprives you of some important aspect of its use, value or your safety, then you might have a claim. Often, if you have made four or more repair attempts on the same part without any luck, you'll qualify in most cases.
If you're using a product and that product injures you, you might wonder if the product is defective. The company that manufactured, sold, or distributed it may be responsible. Holding the manufacturer responsible for defective products is what product liability law is all about.
Consider the following:
Many of these questions involve the burden of proof. Because these cases are often against big corporations who will likely retain top legal talent to defense such lawsuits, product liability cases are very complex.
How much of your practice focuses on estate planning?
Estate planning can have serious financial and tax implications. Unless you have a simple estate, you'll probably want to talk with a specialist.
How long have you been practicing this area of law?
While you may feel more comfortable (and pay less) with a young lawyer, it's generally best to go with an experienced attorney.
What do you expect to accomplish for me?
A good estate planning lawyer will do their best to understand your thoughts on issues such as passing down wealth, minimizing taxes on your estate, as well as the nuances of your own family situation.
How do you charge?
Fees will vary widely based on your geographic location and the size and complexity of your estate. Fees usually range on an hourly basis, but some lawyers may be willing to work with you on a fixed fee.
What if I thought I was fine immediately after an accident but then noticed a developing severe pain in my neck months later?
It's always a good idea to go to your doctor soon after an accident if you think there is any possibility you were hurt. If you wait and then develop pain after you've settled a personal injury claim with the insurance company or the driver, you will likely have lost the ability to sue.
Most employment situations are considered employment at will, meaning that an employee can be fired as you (the employer) sees fit. But there are limitations. You still cannot fire employees in a discriminatory fashion. Downsizing can create many legal problems, especially if you employee more than 100 people.
If your business is this large, make sure you review your layoff plan with a lawyer before moving forward.