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Fort Lauderdale Business and Commercial Law Blog

How to identify your ideal limited business partner

Some Florida business owners have a simple need for their business, namely to finance it. However, traditional funding options, such as bank loans, may be too difficult to acquire or the business may not qualify for the financing. So an entrepreneur may decide to form a limited partnership as a way of financing a business. The key to a successful limited partnership is finding the right limited partner.

As Nerdwallet points out, other partnerships may include owners who want to control their businesses, but a limited partner is there to provide financing, not business management. The person to look for is someone who has no ambitions for controlling the business. If you bring on board someone with dreams of being a manager or someone in an important leadership position, that individual will be frustrated and may feel cheated upon discovering he or she has no real power over the company.  

Understanding hostile workplace environment

At the Law Offices of Levi Williams PA in Florida, we know that your workplace often can be a stressful place. It is full of people, and people do not always get along. Some even go so far as to harass their coworkers in subtle or not-so-subtle ways. But whether this harassment rises to the level of a hostile workplace environment is a complicated question.

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act bans workplace harassment based on race, religion, national origin and gender. But what is harassment? As FindLaw explains, to constitute a hostile workplace environment, the harassment must go well beyond a few off-color jokes, inappropriate comments or even the occasional inappropriate gesture.

Keeping a trademark safe from competitors

When Florida residents run a small business, they may wonder how they can keep other companies from using their trademark. Because this trademark is vital to a business, it is important for people to know how they can protect it.

A business may trademark anything associated with their particular brand. According to Fox Business, this can include colors, names, words and symbols that a company uses to market its services. When people consistently use this trademark, it is automatically considered theirs. While people do not always need to register this trademark, they may want to consider having it officially registered. When a trademark is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, small businesses can expand the areas they do business in, and they may also have more protection when they use the Internet to sell to customers in different states.

What is breach of contract?

If you are a typical Floridian, you are party to many contracts. From your mortgage or lease agreement to your car loan to your internet and cellphone provider to your confirmations of online purchases, contracts are a normal part of daily life. If you think about it, your marriage is a contract between you and your spouse.

Well-written contracts set forth exactly what you and the other party each agrees to do in order to fulfill the contract. Consequently, written contracts are relatively easy to enforce if such action becomes necessary. Verbal contracts, on the other hand, often are difficult to enforce because there is no written record of exactly what the contract entailed and who promised to do what and when.

Verbal agreements may not be in your company’s best interest

If you own a small business and take pride in the small-town feel of a community that works together, you probably have several associates you have worked with for years. While it is nice to have business owners who promote each other’s products and services, it is always wise to keep a modern business sense. At the Law Offices of Levi Williams, P.A., we are prepared to answer the questions of Florida business owners who wish to avoid contract disputes.

Let us say that you have taken over the deli that your grandfather opened several decades ago. Back in an era when one’s handshake meant the same as a written contract, your grandfather and his associates may have had verbal agreements to help each other out. You might have continued this tradition, but what happens if there is a disagreement over an old arrangement? For example, the new owner of a local butcher who supplies the meat for your shop’s sandwiches no longer wishes to trade services – and because he has also raised his prices, he wants to be compensated for the amount of last month’s trade.

What happens when a business partnership breaks up?

Business partnerships are like marriages. They are made up of people: people who are different; people who have different needs; people who have different working styles; people who have different life goals. If you are a partner in a Florida business, you may have the uneasy feeling that all is not “right” in your business. Maybe you cannot put your finger on exactly what is wrong, but the excitement, enthusiasm and thrill that you and your partner(s) had when you first started your business seem to have dissipated over time. You no longer greet each business day as a marvelous opportunity to gain new customers, produce more product, and earn more revenue. Now there are days when you would just as soon stay home, and you fear that your partner(s) may feel exactly the same way.

Entrepreneur magazine reports that partnerships can be 20-30 percent more likely to break up than marriages. When they do, they often make national and/or international headlines. Witness the infamous split-up between Facebook co-founders Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin. Or the equally high-profile split-up of Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen. And who can ever forget the shockwaves that went around the world when Apple fired its CEO and founder Steve Jobs?

Common customer problems companies can face during a merger

The mergers and acquisitions process is rarely a simple and straightforward one. Executives will be confronted with new tasks and responsibilities, and employees on both sides face their comfortable, familiar company culture shifting and changing. Many may fear for their job security. At the Law Offices of Levi Williams, P.A., we are aware that consumers are also affected during mergers of Florida companies. It is important that you understand the different facets of a merger, so you can avoid the worst of the hurdles while the dust settles.

Merging companies is often seen as beneficial for the companies involved, so you might wonder why customers often become nervous when an imminent merger is announced. According to the Houston Chronicle, changing a company’s culture and known brand may shake up the trust of loyal consumers. They may worry that the outstanding quality or customer service of a brand they have grown to love and trust may dramatically change. They could be concerned that merging companies can result in a lack of variety or choice in the products or services you offer. Understandably, they could also worry that their costs will increase, especially if you specialize in a service they cannot do without, such as health care or auto insurance.

Can you be fired for being pregnant?

If you are a Florida woman who is thinking about becoming pregnant or already is, it probably never crossed your mind that you might lose your job because of your pregnancy. But before you laugh at the possibility of such a thing happening in 2018, consider the recent case of a Louisiana Walmart worker.

As reported by CNN, a woman working in the Walmart Distribution Center in Atlanta became ill at work last summer. She was in the early weeks of pregnancy and attributed her nausea and vomiting symptoms to morning sickness. She asked her supervisor if she could take an early break, but he told her she had to get a note from her doctor before he could give her any “special privileges.”

Understanding deceptive trade practices

Florida residents who feel they have been misled by false claims, disinformation or other misleading practices of a retailer or manufacturer may wish to consider filing a lawsuit against that business for deceptive trade practices. As FindLaw explains, under Florida’s Deceptive & Unfair Trade Practices Act, consumers can bring such an action if they have been damaged, financially or otherwise, by a business that engaged in false advertising, false labeling, or the making of outrageously inaccurate claims and/or promises about their product.

The Florida law covers such industries as the following;

  • Food
  • Supplements
  • Real estate
  • Vehicles
  • Credit cards

What emotional effects can sexual harassment cause?

As you may know, being in a toxic work environment can affect your work performance and, in some cases, might make you fear for your job. Sexual harassment is a particularly insidious way a job can go from pleasant to unbearable, but you and other Floridians who have been sexually harassed may not realize the true emotional and psychological damage until months or years later.

NBC News points out that the long-term effects of sexual harassment can involve more than merely having bad memories of working for a crude manager or putting up with physically “touchy” customers. First, you will need to understand the definition of sexual harassment. This involves unwanted behavior of a sexual nature that makes you feel uncomfortable, threatened or degraded at work. You might be subjected to this treatment by your coworkers, superiors or customers. Often, sexual harassment leaves victims feeling confused, ashamed, guilty and afraid.


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