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Howard County MD Business Law Blog

The options that employees have when their rights are violated

There are several laws in place to protect the civil rights of employees. For example, workers cannot be overlooked for promotion because of their gender, race or religion. When the protected rights of Maryland workers are violated, they have a few options to initiate an employment dispute.

One of these options is informal negotiations between the employee and employer, rather than going through a court battle. The optimum result is that the employer consents to compensate the worker, while the employee consents to dismiss the right to take legal action. However, this is not always the result.

Contract terms and validity for Maryland residents

Maryland residents should be aware of the elements of a valid contract. From business owners to the average citizen, contracts are used by people in numerous aspects of professional and financial life. Few people understand the rules that apply to contracts or how to draft and interpret them.

A valid contract is simply one that is legally binding and may be enforced. Although a lawsuit is one possible means of resolving a conflict dispute, it is not a very efficient one in most cases. Contracts are written to clarify the terms of an agreement in such a way that prevents a contract dispute from turning into a lawsuit. A litigious solution to a contract dispute also removes control from the parties at hand and gives it to the court.

UFC faces antitrust lawsuits

Residents of Maryland who enjoy mixed martial arts may be interested to learn that the Ultimate Fighting Championship, a major organization that specializes in the sport, was targeted with three separate antitrust lawsuits in December. The actions were filed against UFC on Dec. 16, Dec. 22 and Dec. 24 by a total of seven individual plaintiffs who claim the organization illegally hampered competition. Some of the plaintiffs are MMA fighters or participated in the sport in the past.

Commentators say the UFC hired a New York-based law firm to fight back against the allegations; this firm has participated in a number of high-profile antitrust cases, including Bush vs. Gore, United States vs. Microsoft and a dispute between the NFL Players Association and the NFL. According to a representative, the UFC simply served the needs of consumers and sports fans as it created its business, and the organization believes its current market status reflects these successes.

Answers to small business questions in Maryland

Although most small businesses do not need to incorporate to operate, there may be advantages to doing so. For instance, it may be easier to get a loan from a bank or gain access to tax breaks after a business incorporates. While incorporating is not a difficult process, it is one that needs to be done correctly.

Incorporating generally involves submitting the proper paperwork and paying a fee to the state where the company wishes to incorporate. For companies that operate in one state, it is best to incorporate in the state where the company operates. However, a business may have an opportunity to incorporate in any state if it operates in multiple states.

Understanding different business plans

As many business owners in Maryland know, the type of business plan one uses is determined largely by the target audience and the venture type. The length of the plan, its details and the mode of presentation are considerations a business owner may use in an effort to ensure success.

There are four types of business plans, and each may be used for different purposes. For instance, a long, detailed plan may be unsuitable for an overview destined to be quickly downloaded and reviewed. Conversely, an investor may require more detail. A shortened version of a standard business plan covers the material but limits itself to highlights.

Legal options for dealing with an uncooperative business partner

Columbia business owners may be interested in some options available to deal with a partner that is not cooperating. Avoiding a deadlock can be accomplished in a few ways, depending on the circumstances.

Many small businesses are owned by a small number of people. This can spell trouble when one of those business partners is uncooperative or not performing. Resolving the situation can depend on two main factors. In business entities that are set up as partnerships or meant to act like a partnership, like LLCs, each partner is meant to have equal control of the business. This means that a majority vote of other partners may not be enough to solve the problem. In corporations, however, having a majority of owners may be enough to get around the lack of consent.

Breaches of contract in Maryland

Companies in the business of buying or selling goods often contract with one another using sales contracts. In such a contract, a seller will agree to provide a specified material or item by a certain date. In return, the buyer will agree to pay money, either as a lump sum payment or in agreed-upon installments. Although sales contracts may seem routine, they are legal documents and as such, may lead to negative consequences in the event a business violates their provisions.

When a contracting party breaches a sales agreement, the breach may be minor or material. Minor breaches are those that can easily be cured and most likely will not lead to litigation. Material breaches, however, are breaches that are so severe that the contract itself is broken. A material breach may lead to the other company's filing a breach of contract lawsuit against the breaching party.

How to buy a company in Maryland

A business is generally acquired in a friendly acquisition or in a hostile takeover. A friendly acquisition involves a buyer negotiating with a seller to be bought for an agreed price. In some cases, the buyer will purchase assets to take control of the company without the need for shareholder approval. However, an acquiring company may buy the acquired company's stock to complete the transaction.

In a hostile takeover, the acquiring company purchases the majority of the acquired company's stock. This makes the acquiring company the majority shareholder and gives it control of purchased company's board. Having control of the board gives the acquiring company effective control of the company regardless of what other shareholders or owners may feel about it. At least 30 days prior to the takeover occurring, a notice must be filed with the SEC.

Effective human resources policies for businesses in Maryland

If you own or manage a business in Maryland, you likely believe that a proactive approach may anticipate potential areas of conflict and could avoid protracted and costly litigation. Disputes cause by the actions of employees or disagreements with former employees are often particularly challenging, but they can often be prevented with clear policy and procedure guidelines and effective employment contracts.

You may be able to prevent many workplace disputes by providing employees with well defined boundaries. Access to the Internet is often necessary for employees to perform their duties, but malicious software can infect networks and impact entire organizations if this privilege is abused. The use of company email accounts may also lead to problems when employees voice controversial opinions or make disparaging comments about customers or suppliers.

Buyout agreements in Maryland

Buy-sell agreements, which are also called buyout agreements, are used in business structures with multiple shareholders as a means of passing shares from one shareholder to another. Depending on the size of the company and the type of corporation, buyout agreements may be more limiting or restrictive. These business planning agreements generally go into effect when events, such as the death of a shareholder, occur. The purpose of the agreement is to protect other shareholders from complications and to deal with the disbursement of assets held by the departing shareholder.

Broadly speaking, the events that may trigger a shareholder agreement include death, divorce, retirement, personal bankruptcy, incapacitation or disability, and termination of employment with a company. They determine a wide range of details, including whether the company must buy out the shareholder's stock, who may buy it, how to measure its value and how payment will be made.