Business Law & Litigation Attorney Based in Annapolis
Serving Clients Throughout Maryland, the DMV Area, North Carolina, and Federal Employees Throughout the U.S.
At the Law Office of Ruth Ann Azeredo, LLC, we have decades of experience assisting small to midsize businesses with employment matters and business issues.
Though it is not preferred, from time to time, disputes arise between businesses, or between a business and a customer or employee. We assist businesses in drafting policies and procedures that are designed to minimize disputes and that set out processes to follow if disputes do arise.
In most instances, it is prudent to address disputes as soon as they become apparent, so as to attempt to avoid litigation. Of course, there are times where litigation is warranted or unavoidable.
At the Law Office of Ruth Ann Azeredo, LLC, we have in depth experience representing businesses. We have helped businesses draft and implement employment policies; draft contracts; review contracts; handle business disputes, including employment issues; with legal strategies to meet business needs; and with litigation matters in federal courts, State courts and in arbitration.
Contractual relationships are critical to getting a business started and seeing it succeed. Businesses rely on assistance and support from vendors, distributors, professional service providers, employees, their own owners, and others. Carefully drafted business contracts facilitate the support and services that businesses need, while also protecting those businesses’ rights and interests.
A well-written contract clearly states each party’s obligations to one another, makes a proper allocation of risks between the parties, defines the remedies that would be available to one party if the other party were to breach their contractual responsibilities, and addresses the manner in which disputes will be handled. The Law Office of Ruth Ann Azeredo, LLC has extensive experience drafting contracts and reviewing contracts including:
- Vendor contracts
- Distribution and retail contracts
- Franchise agreements
- Employment contracts, including hiring and severance agreements
- Independent contractor agreements
- Non-compete agreements
- Non-disclosure agreements (NDA)
- Arbitration agreements
- Contracts with federal agencies (FAR compliance)
- Subcontractor agreements (private sector and government contracts)
Disputes (Administrative Processes, Pre-Litigation, Litigation)
Disputes between Officers, Partners, Members
When the relationship between and among owners, partners, or members becomes strained and is hurting the business, certain steps may need to be taken to preserve assets and determine rights as between the parties.
Disputes with other contractors and competitors
Disputes are inevitable in any kind of business operation. Many times, the parties are able to resolve their differences and move forward without the need for legal proceedings. At times, litigation is unavoidable. A business may decide to assert claims against another business to recover losses from a breach of contract, to address illegal interference with business, or to pursue other wrongful conduct.
As a business owner, you are likely to employ one or more employees. Employees have rights under federal, State, and local laws. A business, as an employer, must ensure that it complies with these laws. Even a conscientious business owner will face times where disputes arise with its employees. These disputes are burdensome and can be harmful to you as a business owner. It is, therefore, important to have policies and procedures in place that serve to prevent some of these disputes and that provide processes for resolving them. Of course, where you, as an employer are defending claims brought by the employee, such as a wage claim, discrimination claim or breach of contract, it is imperative to carefully and prudently, defend such claims.
- Outline and modify employee manuals including procedures and policies
- Sensitivity training for employee awareness
- Leadership development
- Best practice standards for compliance
- Workplace discrimination investigations (age, color, race, gender, religion, sex)
- Wrongfully terminated
- Regulatory HR compliance in unemployment claims, medical privacy policies, and unlawful discrimination as outlined in Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Family Medical Leave Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, Maryland Wage and Hour Law, and other prominent regulations
- Employee contract agreements
- Non-compete agreements (NCA) or non-compete clauses (NCC)
- Insider fraud or company asset misappropriation via employee theft schemes
- Act responsibly with confidentiality, good faith, care, loyalty, and prudence when serving in the best interests of others (fiduciary duty)
- Employee’s right to privacy
Properly Classifying Employees
Another common mistake businesses make is to fail to recognize the distinction between an independent contractor and an employee. Where a business pays its employees as independent contractors, the fallout can be significant. Not only is it illegal but it can give rise to criminal penalties.
In that vein, businesses must know how to properly classify their employees as either exempt or non-exempt employees, the latter requires the employer to pay for all hours worked, and most times, to pay overtime.
Classification issues and wage issues are important to address swiftly and seriously.
Moreover, as a business with customers, you may run into situations where these customers will bring complaints forward in various forums. As with all matters when you are faced with defending a complaint, your response should be considered and prudent.
The Law Office of Ruth Ann Azeredo, LLC has decades of experience in negotiating settlements of disputes in many types of industries. Settlements of disputes range in complexity. Negotiating a settlement takes patience, fortitude, knowledge of the legal issues, and strong drafting skills.
We have assisted our clients in resolving business matters, employment disputes, and investigatory matters. It is our relentlessness to detail and our firm stance on critical terms that sets us apart. Though we will always defer to our clients wishes in settling a matter, we work to address short term and long term goals and are very candid with our clients, enabling them to make sound decisions.
We Are Here to Help You With Your Business Matters
At the Law Office of Ruth Ann Azeredo, LLC we have helped businesses set up processes and policies, have helped them bring claims forward in court or arbitration, and have helped businesses defend their interests in administrative processes, court, mediation, and arbitration.