Before you started your business, you likely planned for months or even years. You may have carefully laid out a business strategy and devised a routine for day-to-day operations, all the while seeking the advice and support of veterans and experts in your field. Planning is a wise step because it can help you foresee potential issues that may arise and develop a method for avoiding or minimizing those problems.
Unfortunately, if your company deals with other entities, such as vendors, clients, subcontractors or employees, there is a certain risk you cannot always avoid. You can never know when miscommunication, dissatisfaction or unforeseen damage may lead to conflict. Even the most detailed plans cannot always prevent a lawsuit.
Heading to court
At some point, nearly every business finds itself either defending against a legal claim or initiating a lawsuit against another party. If you are defending against a lawsuit, you may have insurance to cover the costs. This is not true in all cases, however, and even when insurance applies, involvement in a lawsuit can be upsetting and distract you from the work of running your business. Some of the most common business lawsuits include the following:
- Contract breaches, including contracts for construction work or contractors, employee contracts, and partnership agreements, among others
- Customers or vendors who sue businesses when they feel discriminated against
- Employees who accuse employers of paying unfair wages, for example misclassifying them as independent contractors instead of employees
- Unintentional torts, including acts of negligence on the part of an employee or owner that result in property damage or injuries
- Intentional torts, such as violations of intellectual property, unfair competition, fraud and misappropriation of funds
- Employees claiming discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination or other forms of retaliation in the workplace
Discrimination and harassment lawsuits can be especially challenging, so it is important that you and your staff have a firm grasp of federal and New Jersey laws in these areas. If your business is too small to have a human resources department, it will fall on you to ensure you are complying with all relevant laws.
In many cases, business disputes find resolution through skilled negotiation, mediation or arbitration. Other cases can only be resolved in a court of law. This is not an easy decision since the complexity of a lawsuit can take time and resources from your business. However, just as you built your business venture, you may improve your chances of a successful outcome with a carefully planned strategy and the assistance of professionals skilled in business litigation.