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Fort Lauderdale Business and Commercial Law Blog

Identifying a good business partner

Florida entrepreneurs looking to start a new venture may not always want to go it alone. A business partner can bring a lot to the table but it does not always require that a business to be structured as an official partnership. Even if a new company is ultimately created as a limited liability company or a corporation, there may be an interest in having a partner to get things off the ground.

When searching for a business partner, Business News Daily suggests that a person's existing professional network be tapped into as this may bring many potential candidates to the table. One thing people should watch out for is the tempation to find someone just like themselves. It is actually better to find a partner with different strengths, talents and experience so that together you may actually complement each other. This may boost the company's chance of success.

How can I succeed with a merger?

There are any number of reasons that may lead a business owner or executive to pursue a merger with another company in Florida. Mergers and acquisitions may well provide just what a company needs to not only remain competitive but to leapfrog the competition. A deal may also be the only way in which a particular company can actually stay in business. Whatever the reason, there are certain things that company leaders should know and be aware of in order to ensure success with their mergers.

According to Forbes, engaging with a business' customers early on in the merger process is essential. Customers will no doubt have concerns when they hear of a major change and it is necessary to quell those fears and ensure customers feel secure in continuing to do business with a merging company. Getting customers involved and informed may also help to avoid them from using a merger as a point of leverage in negotiations.

Man given deferred sentence for sexual harassment

Florida employers and employees alike should be familiar with the state's laws on sexual harassment in the workplace. Some of the laws that govern such behavior or alleged behavior are federal and apply to federal employees as well as those employees in the private sector. A man who is 51 years old and had previously been employed by the United States National Park Service has experienced this firsthand. 

Reports indicate that another ranger who was female and nearly 20 years younger than the man had accompanied him on a work-related outing. While at the destination, the man is said to have made advances to her that she clearly said were not wanted. This involved grabbing her, pulling her toward him and attempting to kiss her on the mouth. The event took place in December of 2015. In early 2016, additional incidents were said to be reported but no details of those events are known.

Sexual harassment training for emloyees and managers

Florida employers who are covered under the Florida Civil Rights Act not only need to be aware of the state's laws surrounding sexual harassment at work but also need to focus on training their employees and managers about this issue. As explained by BLR, the Florida Civil Rights Act pertains to any business with more than 14 employees. This may be in either the public or the private sector. 

Sexual harassment can include many things and is considered to be a form of discrimination. Any practice by a company that may discriminate against a person based upon their gender, marital status or pregnancy status may be considered a form of sexual harassment.

Recent merger expands reach of broker business

Florida businesses that merge with other companies or that may fully acquire other operations can do so for a variety of reasons. In some instances, a merger or an acquisition can be pursued as a response to increasing competitive pressure. There are simply some times when buying out a competitor or joining forces with them is more advantageous especially when a clear competitive advantage cannot be achieved. 

Companies may choose to merge in order to expand their joint offerings and capabilities. For example, if one company sells a particular product and another company provides service on that product, a merger might be able to grow their business by putting sales and service under one name and roof. An increase in territory is another similar reason to merge. It is this reason that two Florida businesses appear to have come together.

Misogynistic culture cited in gender discrimination claim

Florida employers know that they are bound by law to treat all employees fairly. Discrimination based upon gender, age, sexual orientation, age or other factors is expressely forbidden and may expose companies to legal liability. Allegations surrounding these types of things may take many forms, making each and every case truly unique.

One situation that exemplifies this is a lawsuit that was filed earlier this year in February by a former vice president of a technology startup company. According to reports, the company's product line resonated primarily with male customers. The business is said to have consciously wanted to expand its products' appeal to more female buyers as well. To this end, they hired a woman in the position of vice president of strategic marketing in April 2015.

Is workplace bullying a problem at your company?

If you're like most people in Florida, you may well have experienced or witnessed some form of bullying as a kid. Even if simply name calling and nothing more, this can and does happen. In fact, bullying is not limited only to the school yard but can and does happen in the workplace as well. When it does happen, everyone in an organization and the organization itself may suffer.

Forbes explains that workplace bullying may take many forms but is generally not physical in nature and instead takes the form of psychological mistreatment. This psychological mistreatment, however, may result in physical problems for employees who not only experience bullying firsthand as targets but for those who witness it as well. Whether in the form of interfering with one's work, intimidation, humiliation or threats, bullying at work can create toxic environments.

Corporate taxes may lower

When looking to start a new business venture in Florida, the issues surrounding taxation can direct many of the decisions that an entrepreneur may end up making. For example, the traditional corporate structure is referred to as a C corporation. From a tax perspective, this type of business has historically paid relatively high taxes compared to some other models. This is because the corporation itself pays taxes and then the individual shareholders also must pay personal income taxes on their earnings from the corporation. That results in some monies essentially being taxed twice.

In recent years, other forms of business structures have been gaining popularity in part due to their simplified and reduced taxes. S corporations, for example, do not pay any corporate taxes at all. The only taxes paid are by the individual shareholders on their earnings but this is done on money that has not yet been taxed in contrast to the C corporation.

Business success planning

If you are the owner of a business in Florida, you know that there is no shortage to the number of decisions you must make to keep your company running. But, how much time and energy have you devoted to making decisions about how to leave your company? Business succession planning is an important thing that is all too easy to put off but that shouldn't be.

As Entrepreneur explains, you may want to retire and expect your business to ultimately be the financial support you need in your retirement years. You may hope to leave your business as a legacy to your children or even your grandchildren. Another situation to consider is what might happen to your business should you die or become ill unexpectedly. Having a plan laid out that details how your business will keep running is essential.

Retailer merger leads to other business sale

Florida businesses that engage in mergers or acquisitions often may get involved in such deals after or because other transactions have already been initiated. With so many businesses being intertwined today, this is simply a reality of the marketplace. Similarly, many companies operate in multiple states which can broaden the reach of any merger or sale of a business.

An example of this can be seen in the merger of two large outdoor retailers that was announced in the fall of 2016. Cabela's is reportedly being sold to prior competitor Bass Pro Shops for a sum of $5.5 billion. The former as a strong hold in the western part of North America while the latter has a stronger hold in the eastern side of North America. However, the merger between these two businesses is not confined to just their companies.


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