JournalArchive

Apr 09
                                               

 

If you hire employees for your business, there are a number of federal and Texas laws with which you must comply. These laws involve wages, overtime, anti-discrimination, taxes, and more. One important issue that you will face is deciding how and when you will give your employees time off work. The following are some laws and legal issues to consider when making this determination.

FMLA

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies to private companies that have at least 50 employees, as well as all schools and public agencies. The law allows qualified employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave per year for certain reasons, specifically:

Childbirth or adoption of a child
Serious health issues 
Caring for a family member with a serious health issue 

While you do not have to pay employees for time off under FMLA, you are prohibited from terminating or retaliating against an employee in any way for exercising this right to take leave.

Sick Time

It happens – employees will get sick. No Texas or federal law requires businesses to allow job-protected sick time for employees nor requires employers to pay employees for sick time. Some states and cities in the United States have begun passing laws regarding mandatory paid sick time. In fact, one councilman has proposed such a measure in the Dallas area. For the time being, however, sick time is not required.

Many business owners choose to provide employees with sick leave as without it, turnover can increase significantly. When you do allow sick time, you want to ensure your policies are clear and consistent. Specify which employees are eligible for how much sick time. Address time periods during which certain sick days can be used and whether sick time can carry over. Any discrepancies in how you handle sick leave between employees can possibly lead to allegations of discrimination.

Vacation Time

Approach vacation time is similarly to sick time – if you choose to provide vacation leave, have clear and consistent policies in place. Also, once you have a written policy or a vacation provision in an employment contract, the paid vacation time promised can be enforced under Texas Payday Law. If you fail to provide the paid leave promised, your employee can take legal action against your company.

You want your employees to be healthy and satisfied, so providing time off may be a preferable choice. You want to ensure that any policies are in compliance with all relevant laws and that you apply these policies fairly and in a manner that protects your business from any possible liability.

Contact a Texas Business Law Firm for Guidance Today

Hiring employees can be an exciting sign of growth but can also complicate matters substantially. You should never hesitate to seek the advice of an experienced Houston business attorney who is familiar with Texas law. The Weisblatt Law Firm can review your situation and help ensure that you are conducting your business in line with the law and can address any other legal matters you may face. Call us today at 713-352-0847 or contact us online for more information.

CONTACT:
The Weisblatt Law Firm LLC
1800 St. James Place, Suite 105
Houston, TX 77056
Ph: (713) 877-1961
Email: adw@weisblattlaw.com
Website: http://www.weisblattlaw.com
Blog URL: http://weisblattlaw.com/giving-your-employees-time-off/

Mar 14
                                      
 

In business, there are many situations in which you may benefit from sharing confidential information with another party on a conditional basis. For example, many businesses that operate in the Houston area and throughout the state of Texas operate using proprietary information that provides them with an advantage in the marketplace. Information that can result in a competitive advantage can take a variety of forms such as a client list. a manufacturing technique, or an analytical process. In addition, there are scenarios in which a business or an entrepreneur must describe an idea in detail to investors, manufacturers, developers, or other parties simply to explore its viability.

 So, how can people in this position protect themselves while sharing the information they need to share with others in order to achieve their goals? One way is through the use of a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA. At their most basic, non-disclosure agreements are a contract between two or more parties agree to share information between one another but not to disclose the shared information with others. In many cases, a well-crafted non-disclosure agreement can protect a party’s intellectual property from misappropriation by those with whom the party must share it.
 
What Should Be Included in a Non-Disclosure Agreement?
 
Non-disclosure agreements are complicated documents that should always be drafted by an experienced lawyer. Every non-disclosure agreement needs to identify the following:
 
The parties to the agreement
The information that is deemed confidential
The extent to which the party receiving the information must keep the information received confidential
Any information that is excluded from the agreement
The length of time the agreement will be in place
 
The Importance of Retaining an Experienced Attorney to Draft Your Non-Disclosure Agreements
 
Whether you are planning on using non-disclosure agreements with your employers, partners, investors, or developers, it is essential that the NDA you use is clear, enforceable, and protect your rights. Failure to achieve these goals could result in a situation in which you disclose information to another party who is under no obligation to keep the information confidential or to not use it for his or her own benefit. In this way, a poorly drafted NDA could result in the unnecessary loss of lucrative business opportunities that could have been avoided simply by retaining an attorney familiar with this area of law. For this reason, if you believe that you may have the need for an NDA, you should consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as you can.
 
Call the Weisblatt Law Firm Today to Speak with a Houston Business Attorney
 
Andrew Weisblatt is a business lawyer in Houston who has been practicing law form more than 25 years. He is committed to being accessible to all of his clients and providing clear and effective legal advice that advances his clients’ interests. Mr. Weisblatt is qualified to provide counsel and representation across a wide range of matters., including entity formation, business transaction, contract disputes, contract drafting, employment issues, and real estate transactions, just to name a few. To schedule a consultation with Mr. Weisblatt, please send us an email or call our office today at 713-352-0847.
 
CONTACT:
The Weisblatt Law Firm LLC
1800 St. James Place, Suite 105
Houston, TX 77056
Ph: (713) 877-1961
Email: adw@weisblattlaw.com
Feb 19

Selling your company can be a wise and lucrative business decision, however, mergers and acquisitions are always complicated endeavors for Texas companies. With the right legal advice and strategy, you can ensure a sale goes through with fewer complications and maximized profits. The following are some tips for selling your business and to discuss your specific situation, call The Weisblatt Law Firm today.

Know Your Goals

You can structure the sale of your business in several ways depending on the specific goals you have, as well as the goals of the buyer. Your sale could leave you with equity in the business, stock options, cash, or a combination of assets. In some cases, sellers keep some management rights, stockholder rights, or become a board member of the corporation. Depending on what you want your role and payment form to be, you can negotiate all of these aspects of the sale. First, however, you must determine exactly what your goals are and our business attorneys can help you weigh your options.

Prepare Before Finding a Buyer

Selling a business quickly can hurt your purchase price as you may not have everything prepared to attract the right potential buyers. If you take time to improve your financial records, customer base, business structure, and more, you may be able to substantially increase the value of your business.

Protect Confidential Information

Part of selling a business is revealing important confidential customer information, trade secrets, or other valuable information that demonstrates and supports the full operational value and potential of the company. However, it is always a possibility that a deal can fall through at any stage before it is finalized. To ensure your confidential information is not exposed by a potential purchaser after a failed sale, you should always limit what you reveal to a minimum. In addition, you may be able to include a confidentiality agreement as part of the letter of intent negotiations, after which you can reveal more detailed information.

Conduct Your Due Diligence

The due diligence process is most commonly associated with buyers of businesses. However, sellers must also perform due diligence to ensure they do not engage in careless selling or misrepresentations regarding the state of their company. Sellers who carelessly sell a business and cause stakeholders to lose money can face legal liability so it is important to ensure a buyer is creditworthy and the business is valued correctly.

The above are only some of many tips that business owners should consider when they are thinking about selling their companies. It is critical to discuss any additional considerations regarding your specific business with a highly experienced attorney.

Contact a Texas Business Law Attorney Today

The Weisblatt Law Firm regularly helps Houston businesses with every step of mergers and acquisitions. These are complicated transactions with a lot of money at stake, so you always need the right legal representation from the start of the process. We will evaluate your options and help maximize the success of your business. Please call today at 713-352-0847 for a free phone consultation regarding the legal needs of your company.

Tags: business lawyer in houston

CONTACT:
The Weisblatt Law Firm LLC
1800 St. James Place, Suite 105
Houston, TX 77056
Ph: (713) 877-1961
Email: adw@weisblattlaw.com
Website: http://www.weisblattlaw.com
Blog URL: http://weisblattlaw.com/tips-for-selling-your-company/

Feb 16

A hedge fund can be a risky endeavor, just like any type of business enterprise. However, with the right planning and strategy for growth, a hedge fund can be supported by sound investments and accredited investors. It is important to have the advice and guidance of a highly skilled business attorney when preparing a private investment limited partnership. Our Texas firm can help from the start to set your hedge fund up for success.

Careful Planning
Thorough research of a market is imperative to develop an investment strategy prior to establishing a hedge fund. You can take many different tactics with hedge fund investment strategies, including the following:Market-neutral strategy, in which all of an investment is offset by a short sale of the overall marketHedged in part, in which short-selling the market offsets only part of the investment

Global macroeconomic strategy based on the interplay of economic trends and global economies

Deciding on a particular strategy requires extensive, in-depth knowledge of the particular market and should take into consideration both the experience and knowledge of the hedge fund manager and the investors’ needs.

Selecting the right business entity for a hedge fund is also critical. You need to identify the fund’s financial goals and choose an entity that best supports those objectives. Some options include:

Trusts

Limited liability companies

Limited partnerships

Each option will have different liability risks and protections for the fund, as well as different roles for the hedge fund manager within the business. For example, a limited partnership is a popular hedge fund structure in which the manager serves as a general partner and investors serve as limited partners. This makes the hedge fund manager personally liable for the fund’s debts while the investors are only liable for debts up to the amount of their investment in the hedge fund. This is only one example of your options for the business entity of your hedge fund.

Documents and Filings

The documents and filings required for your hedge fund will depend on the business structure you select. For example, a limited liability company or limited partnership require you to register with the Texas Secretary of State upon formation. You may need to obtain an Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and a manager may have to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as an investment advisor.

It may also be important to present certain documents to investors, including memorandum explaining the chosen investment strategies that can decrease liability for the hedge fund to investors. Some of these documents may be required by the SEC. You may also need corporate bylaws and advisors’ agreements that can also reduce liability risks. You should discuss all of the necessary and beneficial documents and filings with your attorney to ensure you cover all the bases.

Contact a Houston Business Law Attorney for More Information

Like any business, a successful hedge fund starts with careful planning and strategy. At The Weisblatt Firm, our legal team supports all types of businesses, including hedge funds. We understand the complexities of different enterprises and can help with all the challenges your business faces. Call today at 713-352-0847 to learn more about how we can help you.

CONTACT:
The Weisblatt Law Firm LLC
1800 St. James Place, Suite 105
Houston, TX 77056
Ph: (713) 877-1961
Email: adw@weisblattlaw.com
Website: http://www.weisblattlaw.com
Blog URL: http://weisblattlaw.com/establishing-a-hedge-fund/
Jan 17

blog234

Employers face potential liability for any action committed by workers within the scope of employment. This opens the door to all types of claims against an employer, simply based on the actions of its employees. Employers can, however, mitigate this risk by putting a comprehensive infrastructure in place to govern acceptable employee conduct. An experienced Houston business attorney can help business owners identify those structures that will best protect their particular businesses.

Defining the Scope of Employment
Because plaintiffs can hold employers liable for actions committed within the scope of a worker’s employment, employers must clearly define the scope of employment. This is where an employee handbook can prevent liability. Employee handbooks that clearly govern job duties, acceptable conduct, and company policies can help businesses narrowly define what actions are within the scope of a worker’s employment. This is particularly important when an employee’s duties carry a high risk of liability. For example, a bouncer at a nightclub may attempt to remove a patron with physical force. If the bouncer injures the patron, the club can face liability for the actions of its bouncer. If, on the other hand, the club had an expressed, written policy that prohibited bouncers from using physical force, the club may defend itself on the grounds that the bouncer acted outside the scope of employment.

Enforcing the Scope of Employment
To fully access the protections of a written employment policy, the employer must actually enforce that policy. In the above example, the nightclub would find it difficult to claim that it didn’t allow physical force if it allowed other bouncers to use physical force to remove patrons on other occasions. The employer, then, must put processes in place to enforce written employment policies. A human resources department can prove effective at achieving this goal. A small business that cannot hire a full-time or dedicated human resources officer still needs a manager or owner accountable for enforcing employment policies. An experienced attorney can help.

When creating written employment policies, consider the areas in which your business will face the greatest liability risks. Heavy machinery, dangerous chemicals, and company vehicles are frequent sources of workplace injuries. In an office environment, businesses may face liability for sexual harassment or discrimination claims. Carefully evaluate and consider all of these risks when drafting an employee handbook.

Protect Your Company’s Assets With Comprehensive Planning
Businesses—even limited liability companies—face liability in their daily operations. Luckily, comprehensive risk management strategies and employee policies can mitigate these risks. For more than 25 years, Houston business owners have trusted attorney Andrew Weisblatt to shield them from liability. The Weisblatt Law Firm offers risk management and human resources consulting to businesses of all sizes. Call (713) 352-0847 or write us through our online contact form to schedule your free phone consultation with an experienced Texas business attorney today.

CONTACT:
The Weisblatt Law Firm LLC
1800 St. James Place, Suite 105
Houston, TX 77056
Ph: (713) 877-1961
Email: adw@weisblattlaw.com
Website: http://www.weisblattlaw.com

Nov 10

blog2

Hurricane Harvey hit Houston with a vengeance, leaving behind overwhelming flooding and destruction. While much focus has rightfully been on families who lost their homes, another concern is the future of small businesses in the Houston area. One news source estimated that 99 percent of companies in the city were categorized as small businesses, and affected owners all have a rocky road ahead of them.

Large corporations, including medical or oil companies and big box retail chains, have the capital to not only make necessary repairs in a timely manner but also to absorb losses caused by the flooding. On the other hand, most small businesses do not have huge reserves of cash to help rebuild, especially with an interruption in operations. However, most small business owners do have one important characteristic—determination. The same determination that helped them start their own enterprises can now help them recover after this disaster.

  • Assessing Damage and Covering Costs
  • Harvey caused damage to small businesses in many ways, including:
  • Physical damage to brick-and-mortar locations
  • Lack of a workforce if employees cannot make it into work
  • Disconnection with suppliers and vendors who cannot make deliveries
  • Loss of clients as the public is also struggling with serious losses
  • Falling behind on payroll or other obligations
While no one-size-fits-all solution will rebuild all small businesses after the hurricane, different solutions can help. One is to seek any funding assistance for repairs, including low-interest loans offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) or benefits from flood insurance if your business was fortunate enough to have coverage.

In addition, you might continue as many operations as possible remotely or with a skeleton crew if you lack employees. Scaled-back operations are better than none. If you work in an industry that can contribute to repairs around the Houston area, mobilize as fast as possible to book as many jobs as you can. For your own location, do the minimum amount of repairs up-front to get running again and complete additional repairs over time.

If you do not feel like rebuilding is financially viable for your business, it is important tounderstand how to properly dissolve your business. A disaster is not an excuse to ignore any previous ownership agreements, and you should always discuss your situation with an experienced business lawyer before taking action to close your business.

Do Not Hesitate to Contact Our Houston Business Law Firm Today

At The Weisblatt Law Firm, we have seen firsthand the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey during the past weeks—for residents and business owners alike. We are here to assist small businesses in any way we can, whether by providing guidance to rebuild or wind up operations. Please contact our Houston business attorney online or by calling (713) 714-4634 to speak with a member of our dedicated legal team today.

CONTACT:
The Weisblatt Law Firm LLC
1800 St. James Place, Suite 105
Houston, TX 77056
Ph: (713) 877-1961
Email: adw@weisblattlaw.com
Website: http://www.weisblattlaw.com
Oct 11

new logo

The Weisblatt Law Firm LLC

Texas Business Litigation Attorney

The Weisblatt Law Firm LLC was founded by Houston Business Litigation Attorney Andrew D. Weisblatt in 1992. Attorney Andrew Weisblatt offers free initial consultations for business law services including business representation, business litigation, contracts, advising new businesses, real estate transactions and more.

Andrew is a member of the Texas State Bar with membership of the following sections: Corporate Counsel, Business Law, General Practice (Solo and Small Firm), Labor and Employment Law, Litigation, Real Estate Probate and Trust.

Practice Areas:
Texas Business Litigation Attorney,
Texas Business Lawyer,
Texas Business Contracts Attorney,
Texas Disputes Attorney in Houston,
Texas Business Real Estate Transactions,
Texas Business Litigation Lawyer

Contact:
The Weisblatt Law Firm LLC 
2312 Katy Fort Bend Road
Katy, TX 77493
Ph: 713-666-1981
Fax: 832-415-0215
Web: http://www.weisblattlaw.com
The Weisblatt Law Firm LLC 
1800 St. James Place,
Suite 105
Houston, TX 77056
Ph: 713-877-1961
Website: http://www.weisblattlaw.com

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