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Protect your California business by avoiding disputes before they arise

Owning a business in California comes with its challenges. Avoid legal disputes by following these tips.
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    January 11, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Protect your California business by avoiding disputes before they arise

Article provided by Karlin Law Firm
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One California business owner took awhile to learn his lesson. Despite doing nothing wrong, two employees sued him and his business for wrongful termination after a down economy forced the company to layoff employees. When a third employee sued him for the same reason, he decided to do things a little differently. Instead of quietly settling the issue and chalking it up to the cost of doing business, he pushed back. After some time, he got what he wanted -- an apology from the employee for bringing the case to court in the first place.

While this business owner ultimately prevailed, avoiding disputes is far preferable due to the time and money involved in fending off claims against your business interests. Following are some tips that may help small companies avoid business litigation.

Keep business separate

Keep your personal and business lives separate from each other. The line between work and personal finances can blur, especially when you own a sole proprietorship. While you may be close friends with some of your employees and even may hire family members, it is important to keep a mental distinction between work and play. Most importantly, form a legal entity -- such as a corporation, partnership or joint venture -- that can protect your personal assets from business liabilities.

Write everything down

Maintain written agreements for every aspect of your business and follow business formalities no matter the size of your operation. Not only can written contracts protect your business, they clearly identify the rights and responsibilities of each party. That way, if a dispute does arise, you will have your agreement to fall back on. It is especially important to maintain good paper trails regarding changes to commercial leases, employment agreements and service contracts with vendors, suppliers and customers.

Protect files and internet access

Businesses are subject to fraud just like individuals. Cyber theft is common due to the popularity of online transactions, especially with retail businesses. Not only should California businesses keep office files under lock and key, online files and internet programs must be guarded as well. Change computer and program passwords frequently and allow access only to those who need it. Background checks on potential employees and new vendors or suppliers can also help safeguard against business fraud and theft.

Hire a lawyer

The most important aspect of business ownership is to have a trusted legal advisor by your side every step of the way. An experienced business attorney can help you with all aspects of starting, growing and exiting a business. From entity formation to contracts to dispute avoidance, a knowledgeable California lawyer can help.

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