Independent, small and mid-sized businesses are the foundation of Florida’s economy. Whether you’ve been a business owner for years or if you are just now starting up your first business venture, you need sound legal advice and reliable legal services.

When you work with an experienced Daytona Beach business attorney, your attorney will focus on the many legal issues and concerns that business owners face every day, including but not limited to:

1. hiring and discrimination matters
2. liability concerns
3. taxes
4. compliance with zoning, advertising, and environmental regulations

WHAT ARE THE TOUGHEST LEGAL PROBLEMS BUSINESS OWNERS FACE?

A business attorney can handle a number of business and legal matters on a business owner’s behalf, including three of the trickiest legal problems that business owners encounter:

1. contracts
2. hiring and employment discrimination laws
3. personnel policies

A business owner must have everything in writing, without exception. This includes contracts for services, leases, other real estate documents, storage agreements, and employment contracts.

HOW CAN A LAWYER HELP YOU WITH CONTRACTS?

Have a business lawyer review all of your business contracts and other important documents, and never sign a business contract or agreement unless and until you know precisely what you are agreeing to.

Business owners routinely sign contracts. Contracts, in fact, are so common in business that you can download blank contract forms from a number of websites or you can buy pre-printed blank business forms at office supply stores.

WHY SHOULD YOU AVOID PRE-PRINTED CONTRACTS?

Every line counts in business contracts. Avoid using blank and pre-printed contract forms.

Pre-printed contract forms with vague language and broad generalizations may not be enforceable. If you are a business owner, you need precisely-written contracts drafted strictly and specifically for your business needs.

That is just one of the many reasons why the services of a trustworthy business lawyer are so imperative. Your lawyer will protect your interests by drafting easily understood, legally valid and enforceable contracts that meet your business needs and can’t be misunderstood.

WHAT LAWS GOVERN HIRING AND LEAVE RIGHTS?

For thousands of workers in Florida, the protections offered under federal law by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 (PDA), and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) are essential.

Under the ADA, disabled persons are a legally protected class. If someone can perform the job, it is illegal for an employer to fire, refuse to hire or promote, or discriminate in any other way against someone because that person is physically or mentally handicapped or disabled.

The Family and Medical Leave Act requires businesses with fifty or more employees to provide unpaid, job-protected family and medical leave, without interruption of group health insurance coverage, for twelve weeks for qualified medical and family reasons.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act requires any business with fifteen or more employees to treat pregnant employees exactly like other employees are treated based on their capacity or incapacity to perform the job.

WHEN CAN A LEGAL PROBLEM ARISE?

Whenever a business hires – or does not hire – a job applicant, a legal challenge could arise.

Any misunderstanding or misstep regarding hiring and employment laws could put a small business owner on the wrong end of a hiring or employment discrimination suit.

If you are a business owner in Florida and you have any questions or concerns about any aspect of the federal employment laws, or if you’re being sued for hiring or employment discrimination, speak at once to a skilled business lawyer – and get the legal help you need.

A qualified business lawyer will help you stay compliant with hiring and employment laws and with the multitude of other confusing and overlapping state, federal, and local laws and regulations that govern businesses.

WHAT IS A PROPER PERSONNEL POLICY?

Beyond hiring and employment discrimination claims, as your company grows, it will need appropriate personnel and human resource policies. The right personnel policies put solutions in place before personnel problems can become legal problems.

A good business attorney will help a Florida business owner create, establish, and enforce the personnel policies that fit your business requirements.

A good business lawyer will also recommend – and will help a business owner draft – an employee handbook that precisely explains your company’s personnel procedures and policies.

If you need to conduct an internal investigation of your business, or if you need legal advice or representation regarding any employer-employee dispute, a good business lawyer can help.

A business lawyer will also provide training and legal advice to your supervisors and managers regarding personnel policies. You will receive the sound legal advice, representation, and services that every business owner in the state of Florida needs.

HOW ARE MOST BUSINESS CONFLICTS RESOLVED?

As you probably know, the majority of business disputes are resolved privately and outside of the courtroom. The right personnel policies provide quick solutions and deter costly, unnecessary lawsuits.

And that is what you need when you own a business; quick, out-of-court solutions that let you focus on business rather than problems.

As your operation grows over time, you must have consistent, trustworthy, reliable legal counsel. The right business lawyer will help you make the changes that need to be made and will help you to remain compliant with the scores of laws that regulate and govern your business.

WHAT DOES EVERY BUSINESS OWNER NEED?

In the 21st century, every business owner needs guidance through the maze of employment and hiring laws and the endless list of zoning, tax, environmental, and advertising regulations.

You need an advocate who can fight aggressively on your behalf if your business is cited by the government or sued by an individual or another business. You also need a lawyer who will safeguard your intellectual property and act as your corporate registered agent.

In today’s litigious business environment, you simply cannot do business effectively without the advice of a reputable business lawyer.

Put a reliable business attorney on your team – now, or from the very beginning. That way, you’ll be working with someone who already understands you and your business when legal needs arise or when legal matters need serious attention.

If you do not already have the services and advice of a Florida business attorney, now is the time to reach out for the legal help that you and your business need.

By: Melody Lankford
After graduating from Davidson College, Melody Lankford earned her J.D. from Florida State University’s College of Law in 2004 and was admitted to the Florida Bar that same year. Ms. Lankford joined Raydon Corporation as in-house counsel in 2004. She worked there until 2012, when she founded the Lankford Law Firm. She is an experienced Daytona Beach small business attorney who offers sound legal counsel and experience-based insights to her business clients.