Benefits of Hiring an Arkansas Corporate Defense Lawyer
Whether or not to retain an attorney can be a tough choice, particularly if you operate a small business with a tight budget. We understand business owners and officers often hesitate to call in a lawyer, particularly if they have general counsel, though we recommend it. Hiring an outside attorney can officer not only more experienced insight into your issue but also a new perspective.
Consider contacting The Law Group of Northwest Arkansas LLP if you are facing an internal or external complaint, investigation, lawsuit, or transaction that could:
- Impact your business’s finances;
- Negatively affect your business’s local reputation;
- Lead to regulatory fines;
- Lead to a civil lawsuit;
- Bring about criminal charges against a business owner, executive, or other employee; or
- Impact the company’s ability to operate.
We also take into consideration the matter’s ability to impact your reputation. How your business should handle a dispute or transaction depends not only on who is right and who is wrong but also on the employees’ and public’s perception of the matter.
EEOC Investigations and Charges
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) investigates claims of harassment and discrimination. You may learn a current or former employee filed an EEOC charge regarding sexual harassment or employment discrimination based on age, disability, compensation, genetic information, national origin, race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, or retaliation.
You must take these complaints seriously and call an EEOC attorney. The EEOC will issue a business a Notice of Charge and will conduct a thorough investigation of the claim, and your business should do so as well. Depending on the findings of your own investigation, you may wish to pursue a resolution through mediation or a settlement. You do not have to wait for the outcome of the EEOC complaint, though you may choose to. Not replying timely to requests or notices from the EEOC can have detrimental and expensive consequences. Our experienced employment law attorneys can assist in crafting position statements that get to the heart of the issue.
The EEOC’s investigatory findings and your position statement will determine whether your business faces EEOC charges. If the EEOC finds there is reasonable cause to believe harassment or discrimination occurred, it will issue a Letter of Determination. You and the other party will be allowed to go through the EEOC conciliation process. If you and the other party do not resolve the matter, the EEOC can pursue litigation or issue a right to sue letter and allow the charging party to sue you in federal court.
If you receive a Notice of Charge or Letter of Determination, you must decide whether to fight or resolve the issue. Our attorneys will talk with you about your options and the advantages and disadvantages of each. We are ready to defend an EEOC or discrimination lawsuit in court.
Other Administrative Agency Investigations
The EEOC is not the only administrative agency your business may deal with. You may face investigations by other state and federal agencies, which could lead to fines or lawsuits.
Some of the agencies we regularly cooperate with include:
- FSIS – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service
- OSHA – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- GIPSA – The USDA Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration
- EPA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- DEQ –Department of Environmental Quality
- NLRB – The National Labor Relations Board
- MCHR – The Missouri Commission on Human Rights
Do not hesitate to call our Arkansas corporate defense lawyers to discuss an agency complaint, investigation, or lawsuit. Our team is here to assist with independent investigations, cooperate with agency investigations and document requests, and zealously fight administrative charges and civil lawsuits.
One of the most complicated parts of running and expanding a business is hiring, training, retaining, and terminating employees. There are many state and federal laws and regulations that apply to the employer-employee relationship. Violating one or more laws or regulations can lead to high costs for the business. When your business finds itself dealing with an unpleasant or complex employment issue, call The Law Group of Northwest Arkansas LLP right away.
Our team helps negotiate, draft, and enforce employment agreements. If you believe a current or former employee is violating their contract, contact an employment contract attorney right away. We will review the circumstances and advise you of your rights, including resolving the issue with the employee directly or going to court.
We often run into issues with non-compete agreements. When we draft employment contracts, we are careful to include enforceable non-compete agreements that will stand up in court. If you believe a former employee is violating this provision, let a non-compete agreement lawyers protect the business and look into and resolve the issue.
Our team helps review job descriptions and job tasks to ensure that employees are properly classified for overtime pay. If you have questions about whether your employees are properly classified, contact an employment attorney right away.
If a current or former employee files a lawsuit alleging that they were not properly classified under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), our team of employment lawyers can assist in the investigation and defense. FLSA litigation is intricate and time consuming and you need an experienced employment classification attorney representing your business.
Terminating an employee or executive’s position is challenging on many levels. You have to navigate the stress and negative emotions of firing or laying off an employee. You must consider the practical effects on that employee’s department or the business as a whole. You also have to consider the financial repercussions of the termination.
For higher-level employees and executives, it may be appropriate to offer a severance package at the time of the termination. Our team is highly experienced in drafting, negotiating, and enforcing employee severance agreements.
An employee may file a claim for unemployment benefits that you disagree with. If you receive a Notice of Claim Filed, talk with an unemployment appeal lawyer. You have only seven days to respond, after which, you will receive a Notice of Agency Determination regarding your former employee’s eligibility.
Our Arkansas corporate defense lawyers can guide you through appealing this determination with the Appeal Tribunal if your business has evidence that the employee should not be eligible for benefits. If you lose the initial appeal, we can take the case to the Arkansas Board of Review.
One of our unemployment attorneys can help you appeal if the employee voluntarily quit without good cause, was fired for significant misconduct, did not have a sufficient work history or earnings with the business, or has not looked for work.
Arkansas employers with three or more employees are required by law to provide workers’ compensation coverage. Missouri employers with five or more employees are required by law to provide workers’ compensation coverage. However, in Arkansas and Missouri, some employers in a risky business, such as construction, are required to provider workers’ compensation coverage with as little as one employee. This insurance coverage is intended to cover employee injuries that were sustained in the course of the employee’s work and while on the clock.
Not all claims to workers’ compensation are valid. You may believe a workers’ claim is for an injury that was not work-related or that occurred when the employee was off duty. You may believe the worker was reckless or impaired and caused their own injury. Or, there may be evidence the worker intended to hurt themselves. All of these are reasons to deny a workers’ compensation claim. With over 40 combined years providing employers with workers’ compensation defense, our workers’ compensation attorneys will assist in a thorough investigation, and, when appropriate, can help you fight an inappropriate claim for benefits.
When an employee appeals the denial of workers’ comp benefits, you can eventually find yourself in court. Our workers’ compensation employer defense attorneys are highly experienced in preparing for workers’ comp trials and defending businesses and insurers.
A workers’ comp lawyer also is here to help when a worker files a valid workers’ compensation claim. We can assist businesses and insurers in making benefit determinations and negotiating settlements. Lump-sum settlements are advantageous in certain circumstances, and we can help your business negotiate an agreement that will be approved by an Arkansas or Missouri Administrative Law Judge.
Do not hesitate to reach out to our team to discuss other employment matters, including drafting, revising, or enforcing policies and procedures, enforcing internal policies, creating or updating an employee handbook, or creating or revising your orientation and training offerings.
Contract Enforcement and Breach Allegations
Our Arkansas corporate defense lawyers handle breach of contract and other contract enforcement issues. Do not hesitate to call us if an employee:
- Claims they were wrongfully terminated;
- Quit in violation of their contract;
- Violated a non-compete agreement;
- Violated a non-solicitation agreement;
- Violated the business’s copyright or trademark rights;
- Violated a trade secret provision;
- Violated a non-disclosure or confidentially agreement; or
- Interferes with the continuation of your business.
If you believe an employee violated their contract in any way, or an employee is claiming the business breached the contract, contact an employment and contract attorney immediately. Oftentimes, a cease and desist letter from an attorney can help resolve your matter. Or, you may be able to resolve this issue through mediation and a settlement. Or, you may need to prepare to file a lawsuit or defend yourself against a lawsuit.
Merger and Acquisition Matters
One of the most complex transactions a business can go through is a merger or acquisition. Having an experienced M&A attorney on your side is essential. Whether you are the buyer or seller, we will:
- Keep you fully informed of corporate and M&A law;
- Advise you on the best structure for the sale or merger;
- Perform due diligence;
- Advise you on potential financial ramifications of the transaction;
- Draft, review, and negotiate sale agreements;
- Oversee the transfer of assets; and
- Handle the closing of the sale or merger and any related post-closing matters.
As soon as you become interested in selling or purchasing a business or merging with another entity, contact our mergers & acquisitions lawyers for advice. Businesses, no matter their industry or size, should not move forward with these transactions without legal knowledge and insight from a seasoned firm.