The world of business continues to evolve at a rapid pace. For small business owners, staying informed on the latest developments in industry trends is more important than ever.
Accelerated Digital Transformation
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of businesses across all industries. As a result, small businesses must adapt quickly to stay competitive and relevant in the digital age. This includes embracing new technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation. It is essential to optimize online presence through social media, e-commerce platforms, and effective digital marketing strategies.
To stay ahead of the curve, small business owners should invest in digital tools and software that can help streamline operations, improve customer engagement, and drive sales. Additionally, keeping abreast of changing data privacy and security regulations is crucial to ensure compliance and protect your business from potential legal issues.
Inflation and Supply Chain Issues
Inflation has become a growing concern for businesses worldwide, with rising prices impacting everything from raw materials to shipping costs. Simultaneously, supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic and other global events have led to shortages and delays in obtaining essential goods and services.
Small businesses must closely monitor these trends and develop contingency plans to mitigate their impact. This may include diversifying suppliers, increasing inventory levels, or adjusting pricing strategies for increased costs. Additionally, exploring alternative sales channels, such as local markets or direct-to-consumer models, can help reduce reliance on global supply chains and increase resilience.
Sustainability has become a key focus for both consumers and businesses alike. Small businesses need to consider their operations’ environmental and social impact and incorporate sustainable practices into their business models.
This can include reducing waste, using eco-friendly materials, and implementing energy-efficient technologies. By doing so, small businesses contribute to a more sustainable future and increase their appeal to environmentally-conscious consumers, ultimately resulting in increased sales and customer loyalty.
In today’s competitive market, delivering an exceptional customer experience is essential for small businesses to differentiate themselves and retain customers. This involves understanding your customers’ needs and preferences, personalizing your product or service offerings, and providing prompt and efficient customer support.
Small businesses should invest in customer relationship management (CRM) tools to manage and analyze customer data, allowing for more targeted marketing campaigns and improved customer engagement. Additionally, offering multiple channels of communication, such as chatbots, email, and social media, can help cater to different customer preferences and ensure a seamless and enjoyable customer experience.
Attracting Top Talent
As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, attracting and retaining top talent is crucial for small businesses looking to grow and succeed. To do this, small business owners must offer competitive salaries, benefits, and flexible working arrangements that appeal to today’s workforce.
Moreover, investing in employee development and providing opportunities for growth and advancement can help create a positive work environment that encourages top talent to stay with your company long-term. Building a strong employer brand through transparent communication, a focus on diversity and inclusion, and showcasing your company culture can also help attract high-quality candidates to your business.
Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Can Help Keep You Informed
Business trends are constantly changing, and to stay on top, you have to evolve. If your business needs legal help with recent changes, speak with our Philadelphia business lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Starting a business is an exciting journey, but there are many important decisions to make along the way. One of the most crucial decisions is choosing the right business structure. The type of business entity you select will significantly impact your company’s liability, taxation, management, and ownership structure. This comprehensive guide will help you understand the different options available.
A sole proprietorship is the simplest and most common form of business. It is owned and operated by a single individual who is responsible for all aspects of the business.
- Easy to set up and maintain.
- Complete control over the business.
- Minimal legal formalities and paperwork.
- Pass-through taxation.
- Unlimited personal liability; the owner is responsible for all debts and legal obligations.
- Limited funding opportunities.
- Potential difficulty in transferring or selling the business.
Example: A freelance graphic designer operating under their name would be a sole proprietor.
Best for small, low-risk businesses with no employees and minimal capital requirements.
A partnership involves two or more individuals agreeing to share a business venture’s profits and losses.
- Relatively easy to set up.
- Shared responsibility and decision-making.
- Pass-through taxation.
- Potential to attract investors.
- Unlimited personal liability for all partners unless a limited partnership is formed.
- Potential for disagreements and conflicts among partners.
- More complex management structure compared to a sole proprietorship.
Example: Two friends open a small bakery together, sharing the costs, responsibilities, and profits.
Best for businesses with multiple owners who want to share decision-making and financial responsibility.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
An LLC is a hybrid business structure that combines the limited liability protection of a corporation with the pass-through taxation of a sole proprietorship or partnership.
- Limited personal liability; owners are not personally responsible for business debts and liabilities.
- Flexible management structure and ownership distribution.
- Pass-through taxation.
- Possible tax benefits.
- More complex and costly to set up and maintain than a sole proprietorship or partnership.
- Some states impose additional taxes on LLCs.
- Possible restrictions on the type of businesses that can form an LLC.
Example: A group of software developers creates an LLC to develop and sell a mobile app.
Best for businesses seeking limited liability protection and a flexible management structure without the formalities of a corporation.
A corporation is a separate legal entity from its owners (shareholders) and is governed by a board of directors.
- Limited liability protection for shareholders.
- Ability to raise capital through the sale of stock.
- Transferable ownership.
- Perpetual existence.
- Complex and costly to set up and maintain.
- Double taxation; profits are taxed at the corporate level and again when distributed as dividends to shareholders.
- Extensive record-keeping and reporting requirements.
Example: A tech startup raising capital through venture funding would likely choose to incorporate.
Best for raising significant capital, going public, or operating on a large scale.
Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Can Help You Choose the Right Business Structure
Choosing a business structure can seem overwhelming. You can make an informed decision by understanding the different types and how they may affect your business. Speak with our Philadelphia business lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. about your legal options. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Wrongful termination is an unfortunate reality. Wrongful termination occurs when an employee is fired or laid off for illegal reasons or violates a contract. Some common examples of wrongful termination include:
- Discrimination based on race, gender, age, disability, or other protected characteristics.
- Retaliation for reporting harassment, discrimination, or other workplace misconduct.
- Breach of an employment contract.
- Firing an employee for exercising their legal rights, such as taking medical leave or filing a Workers’ Compensation claim.
Recognizing Wrongful Termination
Wrongful termination can be challenging to identify, as employers often try to disguise it as a legitimate dismissal. Here are some warning signs that may indicate wrongful termination:
- Sudden or unexpected termination without a clear reason.
- Negative treatment or comments about your protected characteristics, such as race or gender.
- Retaliation after reporting workplace misconduct.
- Dismissal shortly after exercising your legal rights.
If you suspect you have been wrongfully terminated, you must talk to an HR representative or a trusted supervisor to discuss your concerns.
What to Do About Wrongful Termination?
If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, there are several steps you can take to protect your rights and seek justice:
· Consult with an employment lawyer: An experienced employment lawyer can help you understand your rights, evaluate your case, and guide you through seeking compensation or reinstatement.
· File a complaint with a government agency: In the United States, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your state’s labor department. These agencies investigate wrongful termination claims and may help you negotiate a settlement or pursue legal action.
· Negotiate a severance package: In some cases, you may be able to negotiate a severance package with your employer. This could include financial compensation, continuation of benefits, or other terms that can help you transition to a new job.
Wrongful termination can be difficult and complex, but understanding your rights and taking appropriate action can help you achieve justice. If you suspect you have been wrongfully terminated, seek legal advice and explore your options.
Possible Damages for Wrongful Termination
When a person has been wrongfully terminated, they may be entitled to various types of damages, depending on the circumstances of their case and the applicable laws in their jurisdiction. Some potential damages that an individual could receive include:
- Back pay: Compensation for lost wages from the date of termination until the date of judgment or reinstatement. This includes salaries, bonuses, commissions, and other income the employee would have earned during this period.
- Front pay: Compensation for future lost wages in cases where reinstatement is not possible or appropriate. This is usually awarded when it is determined that the employee will face difficulty finding a comparable job due to the wrongful termination.
- Loss of benefits: Compensation for the value of lost employment benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and stock options.
- Emotional distress: Compensation for the emotional pain and suffering caused by the wrongful termination. This may include damages for anxiety, depression, humiliation, or other psychological impacts.
- Punitive damages: Awarded in cases where the employer’s conduct was particularly egregious or malicious to punish the employer and deter similar behavior in the future.
- Reinstatement: In some cases, the court may order the employer to reinstate the wrongfully terminated employee to their former position.
- Attorney fees and costs: If the employee prevails in their wrongful termination claim, they may be awarded attorney fees and other legal expenses associated with pursuing their case.
- Other damages: Depending on the specific circumstances of the case, additional damages may be awarded, such as compensation for damage to the employee’s professional reputation, job search expenses, or relocation costs.
Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Can Protect Your Rights if You Have Been Wrongfully Terminated
Wrongful termination can happen in various ways. If you think you have been wrongfully terminated, speak with our Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. to discuss your potential legal options. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for specific family or medical reasons.
FMLA leave can be taken in various scenarios, including:
- The birth of a child and bonding with the newborn within one year of birth.
- The placement of a child for adoption or foster care and connecting with the child within one year of placement.
- To care for a spouse, child, or parent with a severe health condition.
- A serious health condition that prevents the employee from performing their job.
- Any qualifying exigency arising out of a spouse, child, or parent being on covered active duty or called to covered active duty in the Armed Forces.
In addition, the FMLA provides eligible employees with up to 26 weeks of leave in a single 12-month period to care for a covered servicemember with a serious injury or illness if the employee is the servicemember’s spouse, child, parent, or next of kin.
How Much FMLA Leave Is Available?
Eligible employees are entitled to up to 12 work weeks of FMLA leave in 12 months. To qualify, you must:
- Work for a covered employer: private-sector employers with 50 or more employees, public agencies, and public or private elementary and secondary schools.
- Have worked for the employer for at least 12 months (not necessarily consecutive).
- Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately preceding the start of the leave.
- Work at a location where the employer has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius.
What Conditions Qualify for FMLA Leave?
A qualifying serious health condition is an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:
- Inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility.
- Incapacity for more than three full, consecutive calendar days with continuing treatment by a health care provider.
- Chronic conditions requiring periodic treatment by a health care provider, continuing over an extended period, and causing episodic incapacity.
- Permanent or long-term conditions requiring supervision by a health care provider.
- Conditions requiring multiple treatments by a health care provider for restorative surgery after an accident or other injury or for a condition that would likely result in incapacity of more than three consecutive days if left untreated.
How to Apply for FMLA Leave?
To request FMLA leave, you should follow these steps:
- Notify your employer as soon as you know the need for leave. If the need is foreseeable, provide at least 30 days’ notice. If not, notify your employer as soon as possible (typically within one to two business days of learning about the need for leave).
- Comply with your employer’s usual and customary notice and procedural requirements for requesting leave.
- Provide sufficient information for your employer to determine whether the FMLA applies to the leave request, such as the anticipated timing and duration of the leave and relevant facts about the reason for the leave.
- If requested, provide appropriate documentation, such as a certification from a health care provider, to support the need for leave.
Many federal laws protect your rights at work, including the FMLA. Understanding these laws is challenging, and if you think your rights have been violated, speak with an employment lawyer.
Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Can Protect Your Work Rights
If your work rights have been violated, speak with our Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. to discuss your options. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Starting a business in Pennsylvania can be an exciting journey but requires careful planning, preparation, and execution to ensure its success. There are several steps you should take when starting a business.
Step 1: Choose a Name and Legal Structure
The first step to starting a business in Pennsylvania is to choose a unique business name and a legal structure. Your business’s legal structure determines the protection of your assets and personal liability. You can choose from a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), corporation, or other legal entity. Research the different legal entities, and consider the legal and tax implications before deciding on the most suitable structure.
Step 2: Create a Business Plan
The next step is to create a detailed business outline that covers everything from your business goals, target audience, marketing strategy, timelines, and financial projections. Your business plan should be realistic and comprehensive and address your business’s key areas, including the competition, product offering, marketing plans, and funding.
Step 3: Register Your Business
Once the legal structure is chosen, you must register your business with the Pennsylvania Department of State by submitting the articles of incorporation, registering a name, or filing a trademark. The fees for registering your business vary according to your chosen legal structure.
Step 4: Register for Tax and Employer Accounts
As a business owner, you must obtain a federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the (IRS) and register tax and employer accounts with the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue and PA Unemployment Compensation. Make sure to obtain all necessary paperwork and license requirements.
Step 5: Register for Local Taxes, Zoning Requirements, Licenses, or Permits
Register for any local taxes, zoning requirements, licenses, permits, or certifications required for your business to operate legally. Check your local municipality, county, or township for specific requirements.
Step 6: Open a Business Bank Account
Opening a business bank account is a valuable tool to keep your personal and business finances separate. It makes it easy to track expenses and revenue and monitor your business’s overall financial health.
Step 7: Acquire Business Insurance
Business insurance can protect your assets, employees, and clients from unforeseen circumstances. General liability insurance and Workers’ Compensation insurance are essential protection types for most businesses.
Step 8: Fund Your Business
Obtaining funding is a vital step in starting your business. You can fund your business through loans, grants, crowdfunding, angel investors, or personal savings. Consider all available financing options, choose the one that suits your business needs, and make a funding plan that covers your business expenses for at least the first year.
Step 9: File and Pay Taxes
As a business owner, you must file federal, state, and local tax returns and pay taxes on time. Having a financial record-keeping system and consulting an accountant is essential to ensure compliance and avoid costly penalties.
Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Can Provide Legal Assistance if You Are Starting a New Business
Starting a business is exciting, but there is a lot of legal work to do. Get the help you need today by speaking with our Philadelphia business lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Starting and running a business is a difficult task. Small businesses are responsible for handling every aspect of their operations, from hiring employees to signing contracts with vendors. While small businesses handle many challenges, one area that many owners overlook or undervalue is their legal requirements and compliance.
In recent years, gender pay gap has gained a lot of attention, and many states have passed laws addressing pay equity issues. Many small businesses are unaware of their obligations to provide equitable pay to their employees, which can result in legal repercussions and significant financial penalties. Small business owners must understand pay equity laws and make necessary modifications to ensure they are compliant.
Employee classification can also create issues for small businesses. Classifying employees as exempt employees, non-exempt employees, or independent contractors can significantly impact compliance requirements. Misclassifying employees can result in hefty legal bills, fines, and penalties. Small business owners need to proceed with caution and ensure employees are classified correctly.
Wage and Hour Compliance
Wage and hour compliance is another area that small business owners need to be vigilant about. Small businesses are required to pay overtime, keep accurate payroll records, and comply with strict minimum wage laws. Failure to comply can result in legal action and penalties, making it essential for business owners to stay informed and comply with the law.
Paid Leave Requirements
Paid leave requirements are state-mandated and have been gaining attention across the country. Small business owners must understand the laws and provide employees with the required amount of time off or they may face legal repercussions and penalties.
Cybersecurity and Privacy
With the increasing reliance on technology, small businesses need to be aware of the legal implications of cybersecurity and privacy. It is crucial to understand the necessity of securing sensitive information and the regulatory requirements that require businesses to protect consumer data privacy. With the increase in online threats and compliance regulations, small businesses need to protect themselves and their customers.
Contract disputes occur when one or more parties involved in a contract disagree about the terms of the agreement. This might happen when one party fails to live up to their contractual obligations, when there is a misunderstanding about the terms of the contract, or when there is a disagreement about how to interpret the contract.
To minimize the impact of contract disputes, small businesses can take several steps.
First, they should be proactive in drafting contracts, taking the time to ensure that the language is clear and that all parties understand their obligations.
Second, small businesses should consider having an attorney review contracts to ensure that they are legally sound and protect the company’s interests.
Finally, communication is key. Small businesses should make sure that all parties involved in a contract are aware of their respective obligations and that they have an open line of communication to address any issues that arise.
Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Can Help Fix Your Small Business’s Legal Issues
Small businesses face legal issues all the time, and how you deal with them can impact your business and employees. Get the legal help you need today by speaking with our Philadelphia business lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Dealing with employment disputes is never easy, and it is often complicated to find a workable solution, especially in legal cases. However, did you know that there may be a way to resolve employment disputes without the need for litigation or court proceedings? This is called alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which is an efficient, effective, and less expensive way to resolve disagreements.
ADR is a process used to settle disputes without going to court. ADR is a less formal and less expensive approach, typically involving a neutral third party such as a mediator or an arbitrator, to help participants reach an agreement. The goal of ADR is to solve the dispute fairly and amicably.
Different Types of ADR
Here are some common types of ADR:
- Mediation: Mediation usually involves a neutral third party acting as a mediator to help participants reach a mutually acceptable agreement. Mediation can be particularly useful for disputes where the relationship must continue, as it allows the parties to maintain an amicable relationship.
- Arbitration: In arbitration, a neutral third party acts as an arbitrator and makes a binding decision on the dispute. Unlike mediation, parties have less control over the outcome of the dispute, but the process is more time-efficient.
- Negotiation: Negotiation is a process where parties involved in a dispute attempt to find a mutually acceptable solution on their own, usually through face-to-face conversations.
- Collaborative law: Collaborative Law usually involves the parties and their attorneys agreeing to work together outside of court to resolve the dispute.
Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution
ADR offers several benefits to employers and employees, including:
- Saves time: ADR processes are often faster than court proceedings, which could take months or years to solve.
- Saves money: ADR is often less expensive than the traditional court process. The costs of litigation can be a huge financial burden for small businesses.
- Offers more control: ADR provides participants with more control over the outcome of the dispute, unlike litigation where the outcome is in the hands of the court.
- Maintains privacy: Court proceedings are public record, and they may damage the reputation of the business. ADR, on the other hand, maintains privacy and confidentiality, which can be essential for small businesses.
Why Is ADR Useful in Employment Disputes?
Employment disputes can be quite complicated, and litigation may not be the best approach to solve them. ADR offers a more flexible and amicable way to solve disputes that are personal and sensitive to employees. Here are a few examples of employment disputes that can be resolved through ADR:
- Discrimination claims: Disputes involving discrimination can be particularly sensitive and personal. Mediation, in particular, provides an amicable and fast solution.
- Harassment claims: Harassment claims can also be sensitive and personal. Arbitration, under certain circumstances, can provide a more expedient and confidential solution.
- Wage disputes: Claims regarding pay or other wage disputes can be resolved through mediation or negotiation.
Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Can Help You Find a Suitable Business Dispute Resolution
Employment disputes happen despite your best efforts to prevent them. When they arise, ADR could be the most cost-effective and time-efficient way to resolve the matter. Get the legal help you need today by speaking with our Philadelphia business lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
As a business owner, it is crucial to understand the legal implications that come with terminating employees. Wrongful termination, in particular, can be troublesome. Here are some ways you can be proactive to protect your business from wrongful termination lawsuits.
Comply With Labor Laws
The best way to prevent wrongful termination lawsuits is to ensure that your business is complying with labor laws. This means understanding federal and state employment laws, including anti-discrimination laws, wage and hour laws, and labor union regulations. Review and update your employment policies and procedures regularly, and train your HR staff and managers to implement them consistently.
Avoid Arbitrary Terminations
Arbitrary termination refers to firing an employee for no justifiable reason. To protect your business from wrongful termination lawsuits, you must have a legitimate reason for letting go of an employee, even if you do not share the full reason with the employee. This could be poor performance, violation of company policies, misconduct, or any other valid reason. Ensure that your business has proper documentation of an employee’s poor performance or policy violations so you have evidence that can be used to defend your decision to terminate the employee.
Be Prepared for Termination
When termination is necessary, handle it with care and be prepared. Conduct the termination meeting in private and have a witness present to document the conversation. Be clear and concise in your communication, and avoid making personal attacks or comments that could be used against you. Provide the terminated employee with written notice of the termination, their final paycheck, and their entitled benefits. Consider offering outplacement services or support, such as career counseling or resume building, to help the employee transition out of the organization.
Implement Clear and Concise Policies
Having a clear set of policies in place is essential to avoid wrongful termination lawsuits. Start by establishing a clear code of conduct that employees must adhere to. This can include rules and regulations about acceptable behavior and performance standards. By providing your employees with well-communicated rules and clearly defined job responsibilities, it will be easier to hold them accountable to those standards. That way, if you eventually have to take action against an employee, you will have a solid foundation to support your case.
Document Employee Performance and Conduct
Documentation is critical for fighting wrongful termination lawsuits. Make sure that employee documents, such as disciplinary actions, performance reviews, and attendance records, are kept safe and secure. In case of a lawsuit, the documents will serve as evidence and back up the reason for the termination.
Document every conversation you have with an employee regarding their job and conduct. If an employee is underperforming or behaving negatively, take note of the date, time, and details of each infraction. Having a compilation of these details helps to provide tangible evidence when you are faced with a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Seek Legal Guidance
One of the best ways to protect your business is by seeking legal guidance. You do not have to wait until you are facing a lawsuit to look for legal advice. Instead, have a lawyer on retainer to review policies and procedures and provide guidance on how to deal with potentially risky situations. This provides an additional layer of protection and ensures that, if faced with a lawsuit, legal professionals can provide the necessary guidance to protect your business.
Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Can Help Protect Your Business From Wrongful Termination Lawsuits
Protecting your business from wrongful termination lawsuits starts well before any litigation. Get the legal help you need today by speaking with our Philadelphia business lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule an appointment. Located in Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Employment contracts are essential documents that provide clarity and structure to the employment relationship between an employer and an employee. The purpose of an employment contract is to clearly define the terms and conditions of employment, so that everyone – employer and employee alike – knows exactly what is expected of them.
The contract typically covers a range of issues, such as the duration of employment, job duties, compensation, benefits, termination details, and other relevant employment terms. Employment contracts provide numerous benefits to both the employer and employee.
For employers, they limit the scope for disputes or misunderstandings. An employment contract ensures that both parties are aware of their obligations and expectations, which can reduce the likelihood of legal disputes.
For employees, employment contracts provide peace of mind and job security. A well-drafted employment contract can make it clear what is expected of them and what they can expect in return.
The following components should be included in an employment contract.
The employment contract should include the employee’s name, job title, starting date, and other basic information, such as contact information.
The employment contract should clearly define the employee’s duties and responsibilities. This can include details about tasks, targets, and goals expected from the employee.
Employment contracts should address compensation, including salary, benefits, and other forms of compensation, such as bonuses or stock options. The contract should detail how and when the employee will be paid and what benefits will be included, such as vacation time or insurance policies.
The contract should outline the circumstances in which employment can be terminated, such as resignation, retirement, or dismissal. An employment agreement should specify what the process is for resolving disputes, including mediation, arbitration, or litigation.
An “at-will” clause is a provision in an employment contract that indicates that either the employer or the employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time and for any reason, without any legal consequences, provided there is no illegal discrimination or contract violation. The at-will status clearly outlines the terms of the employment relationship so that employers and employees alike understand their relationship and corresponding expectations.
The at-will status gives both parties the freedom to end the employment relationship at any time for any reason. However, it is important to note that having an at-will clause does not exempt employers from being held liable for wrongful termination under certain circumstances. Wrongful termination can occur if the employer violates federal, state, or local anti-discrimination laws, or violates any provision of an employment contract.
Apart from employee details, job duties, compensation, benefits, and termination details, there are other provisions that may be included in an employment contract, depending on the employer’s requirements and the nature of the job:
- Confidentiality and non-disclosure: The employer may include clauses that prohibit employees from sharing confidential or proprietary information. This clause is especially important for companies that deal with trade secrets, client lists, or other sensitive information.
- Non-compete and non-solicitation: Employers may include clauses that restrict employees from competing or soliciting business from clients for a certain period after their employment is terminated. Be aware that several states have begun invalidating non-compete clauses.
- Intellectual property: If an employee is expected to create intellectual property during their employment, the contract may specify who owns it and how it can be used.
- Performance expectations: Employers may set performance expectations and provide consequences if employees do not meet them.
- Work schedule and hours: The employment contract can specify the work schedule and hours of the employee based on the employer’s requirements.
- Benefits: Employers may specify the benefits offered to their employees, such as vacation days, sick days, health insurance, and retirement benefits.
- Entire agreement: Employers may include clauses that specify that the employment agreement contains the entire agreement between both parties and supersedes any prior agreements, verbal or written.
Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Can Help Keep Your Business Compliant
To stay compliant, it is important to have effective employment contracts. Protect yourself and your business by speaking with our Philadelphia business lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
As a business owner, hiring and firing can be stressful. Unfortunately, many employers make mistakes in hiring and firing. These mistakes can result in costly lawsuits, disciplinary actions, and low employee morale.
Hiring Mistake 1: Not Defining the Job’s Qualifications or Overlooking Them
Without a clear and concise definition of what the job requires, you cannot effectively identify the ideal candidate. Defining the job includes creating a job description, stating employee qualifications, and establishing their duties and responsibilities. Overlooking some qualifications can also lead to disastrous outcomes. For instance, hiring a person with a history of misconduct in finance to handle your business’s finances. This mistake can be avoided by reviewing resumes and applications and conducting background and reference checks.
Hiring Mistake 2: Not Conducting Effective Interviews
Another common mistake that employers make is not asking appropriate job-related questions during interviews. Asking irrelevant questions, not taking notes, and interrupting the candidate are signs of poor interviewing skills. Conducting effective interviews involves asking job-related questions, assessing the candidate’s behavior, experience, and references, and evaluating the candidate’s fit with your company culture.
Hiring Mistake 3: Rushing the Hiring Process
Hiring the first candidate that applies can be the biggest mistake an employer can make. It is crucial to take your time and evaluate all candidates based on job requirements and experience. Rushing the hiring process can lead to poor hiring decisions and high turnover rates. Rushing can also lead to neglecting to check references and conducting background checks. It is essential to have a hiring timeline that incorporates each step of the hiring process.
Hiring Mistake 4: Not Offering Competitive Wages and Benefits
Compensating low wages and minimal benefits often leads to high turnover rates, leaving your business exposed to financial liabilities. Offering competitive wages and benefits packages is critical to keeping your employees and attracting top talent. Employers must determine what they can afford and offer alternative benefits, such as a flexible work schedule, paid time off, and bonuses.
Hiring Mistake 5: Ignoring Discrimination Laws
Ignoring discrimination laws during the hiring process can lead to costly fines and lawsuits. Employers need to develop and maintain fair and nondiscriminatory hiring policies, including EEOC guidelines, state, and federal laws. This involves avoiding discriminatory hiring practices based on age, gender, race, sexual orientation, disability status, and other protected classes.
Firing Mistake 1: Improper Documentation
Not documenting employee actions, problem behavior, and performance can lead to misunderstandings and costly litigation. Documenting employee performance includes dates, times, and incidents. Documentation should address areas of improvement, the steps the employer took to provide feedback, coaching, and support.
Firing Mistake 2: Appearing Biased or Prejudiced
Appearances of bias or prejudice can lead to costly discrimination lawsuits, including wrongful termination. Employers must communicate clearly and genuinely when terminating or disciplining an employee. Avoid making comments that could appear potentially discriminatory.
Firing Mistake 3: Acting Based on Emotions
While employers may have strong feelings about a situation, it is essential to make objective decisions rather than acting on emotions. Employers must remain in control and take the necessary time to analyze situations before taking any disciplinary action or terminating an employee.
Firing Mistake 4: Terminating as Retaliation
Retaliation against employees who complain, challenge, or make a report against an employee or employer violates federal and state employment laws, and it can be incredibly damaging.
Firing Mistake 5: Neglecting Ongoing Performance Feedback
Neglecting ongoing performance feedback leads to high turnover rates and creates an uncomfortable work environment. Employers should routinely provide feedback, both positive and constructive, to their employees. Offering feedback promotes a positive work environment and reinforces that the employer values their employees’ contributions.
Philadelphia Business Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Can Help Keep Your Business Compliant
It is crucial that your business has clear and structured hiring and firing processes. Protect yourself and your business by speaking with one of our Philadelphia business lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Call us at 215-574-0600 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.