You Need Professional Help with Business License Issues

You Need Professional Help with Business License Issues

The US is home to countless county, city, township, and special-district governmental bodies, each with its own business license regulations.  Depending on the type of venture, where it will be located, and various other factors, almost all businesses require a license to operate legally. Dealing with the complexities and nuances of business license compliance involves meeting deadlines and spending a great deal of time studying application requirements and communicating with an array of local, state, and federal agencies. As a result, acquiring a business license can be a daunting task, especially for first-time applicants, and delaying the process can be costly.

You Have to Earn and Keep Business Licenses

Below are the key steps in acquiring and maintaining a business license.

  1. Establish what type of business license you require.
  2. Assemble the proper documents to carry out the application process.
  3. Submit the completed documents to the appropriate government agency.
  4. Obtain your business license.
  5. Stay abreast of your specific license-renewal requirements.

These actions may look clear and straightforward on the surface, but business licensure procedures are actually quite complex and variable based on a number of factors. At times it’s even hard to know which government agencies oversee your specific license requirements. You might need to obtain state business licensing, and in some states, you may also have to abide by city, township, or special-district regulations.

Where to Apply for a Business License May be Hard to Determine

Consequently, where you need to apply for a business license may not be clear-cut. For instance, you will have to establish whether your business location lies in an incorporated or an unincorporated area within your municipality.  If you do the bulk of your business in Chicago, Illinois, but your location technically lies outside of the Chicago city limits, you might fall under DuPage County’s jurisdiction and will need to file for licensing there.

All such issues can be handled promptly and professionally with the help of a knowledgeable business attorney. At Bell & Shah Law, LLC our experienced and compassionate legal team can help to ensure that you obtain your business license quickly and easily. Contact us today.

Important Notes When Creating a Severance Package

Important Notes When Creating a Severance Package

On the topic of worker benefits, employers are understandably more interested in discussing the advantages of working for their company rather than the benefits provided when employment ends. However, a well-designed severance package can produce long-term gains for businesses in terms of retaining employees, boosting worker morale, and enhancing the company brand even through difficult economic times.  The following are some actions that will help ensure you a successful severance package to fulfill your needs and provide equitable treatment for your workers.

1. Plan as Far in Advance as You Can

Avoid waiting until layoffs are about to happen.  Proactive planning will give you more time to make sure your severance policies line up with overall company goals; enlist legal guidance; and convey your policy so that workers know what to anticipate if layoffs occur.

2. Assess the Benefits of Your Present Severance Package

Consider what your current package offers.  According to a recent survey, only about half of employers have formal severance policies. In general, companies stress employee morale and invest a great deal of time and energy in ensuring that worker spirits remain high. To aid in this effort, starting or enhancing a severance package will convey an upbeat message to the workforce and thus improve morale.

3. Identify Your Company’s Goals in Having a Severance Policy

What factors are important to your company regarding a severance package?  Do they involve employee welfare; worker retention for possible rehire; having an appealing package to attract top-notch talent; or limiting your liability?  Severance packages come in many forms, and your company’s policy should be in line with your expected returns.

4. Construct an Official Severance Package Document

Generate a formal severance policy agreement that aligns with your company’s goals.  Severance packages can vary for individual employees based on seniority, job description, or management rank, but it’s essential to plainly convey the specific requirements for each type of package and guarantee they can be easily understood.

5. Be Consistent in Applying Your Policy’s Conditions

After the policy is created, avoid deviating from its conditions.  Workers talk to others who are either leaving the company or staying on, and opinions about unfairness can detract from the policy’s positive impact, possibly even leading to litigation.

6. Clearly Convey Your Severance Package to Employees

Avoid keeping your severance package hidden away in a file cabinet or in an obscure company computer folder; instead, publicize and promote it. Include it in materials for new hires and make it accessible on your intranet system.  You may even advertise your severance policy as a benefit or a form of compensation that reflects the company’s appreciation for service and its readiness to support workers transitioning to other jobs.

If you’re interested in developing a new severance package or in enhancing your current version, get in touch with us at Bell & Shaw Law, LLC today for a free consultation. Our knowledgeable business attorneys can assist you in creating a severance package that addresses the needs of both you and your workers.

Does Your Business Need a Non-Compete Agreement?

Does Your Business Need a Non-Compete Agreement?

Non-compete agreements, also known as non-compete clauses (NCCs), are contracts that forbid employees from working for a business’ direct competitor or from becoming competitors themselves for a specific length of time after departing from the business. To make this simpler, it is a contract that prohibits an employee from reaching out to former clients.

The Nature of Non-compete Agreements

Non-compete agreements are put in force when relations between employers and employees are over. At that point, the employers seek to keep the employees from competing with them in their next place of employment. That means either with a competing company in the same marketplace or through their own organization in the identical area of business. Such agreements also proscribe employees from asking other members of the original company’s team to leave and work with them in a new venture.

Businesses that May Need an NCC

There are many instances where an NCC may be useful. For example:

  • If your business uses consultants and/or independent contractors
  • Has employees who, upon ending their relationship with your company, may begin working with a competitor
  • Has employees that may start their own business and gain a competitive edge by exploiting your classified data

Such data might include:

  • Trade secrets
  • Ways of operating
  • Sensitive information
  • Client lists
  • Proprietary business practices
  • Product formulas
  • Pricing methods
  • Marketing strategies
  • Employees’ salaries
  • New product ideas
  • Upcoming products
  • Public relations plans

Such workers are frequently required to sign non-compete clauses to avoid the chance of their taking competitive action after their departure from your company. It is meant as a way to protect your business should a relationship sour in the future.

Legal Advice is Vital in Creating a Non-Compete Agreement

Although their objectives may be clear-cut, non-compete agreements need to meet several specific conditions to be put into force. Also, the validity and enforceability of non-compete contracts fluctuate from state to state and from one jurisdiction to another. For these reasons, it’s essential to seek the help of experienced legal counsel to review your non-compete contract. You want to make sure it’s not detrimental or excessively limiting to employees while still meeting your needs.

If you’re considering implementing a non-compete contract for your business, call Bell & Shaw Law, LLC today. We offer a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your case. Our skilled business attorneys can help you to draft an agreement that is both responsive to your wishes and equitable to your employees.

Should You Consider Using an NDA with Your Employees?

Should You Consider Using an NDA with Your Employees?

Should You Consider Using an NDA with Your Employees? Nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) are used by organizations for a range of purposes, such as protecting sensitive data about proprietary operating procedures or innovative marketing strategies. But when is employing NDAs a good idea, and what kinds of data should they be used to safeguard?

In recent years, news reports about non-compete agreements that go too far by stopping low-wage earners from seeking employment with competitors, and NDAs that keep harassment victims from speaking out have caused many state lawmakers to control employers’ use of restrictive covenants. But NDAs may still be used to defend sensitive proprietary information and trade secrets.

NDAs Give Companies Legal Protection

If a company possesses such important data, it makes good sense to oblige employees to sign NDAs. This is true largely because most trade-secret protection rulings require companies to establish they used reasonable means to protect such data in order to maintain its confidentiality. And letting new employees know through an NDA that they will be privy to confidential information is key to verifying such efforts were made.

NDAs Safeguard Vital Information beyond Trade Secrets

NDAs are essential to protecting confidential information and trade secrets both while a worker is employed and after the worker’s exit from a company. Even if an organization lacks obvious trade secrets, employers who convey business-related facts to workers about their core processes, clients, and expansion plans should take steps to ensure this information is protected against unauthorized leaks.

Consider the Scope of Your NDA

At times organizations run into difficulties if the terminology of their NDAs is too broad in scope. Poorly prepared or overly expansive NDAs may become unenforceable or lead to legal action. Thus, employers should make every effort to guarantee that the confidentiality provisions of their NDAs are narrowly focused so as to protect only information that is not to be disclosed.

If you’re thinking about creating a non-disclosure agreement for your organization, contact Bell & Shaw Law, LLCtoday to talk over your plans. Our team of highly experienced business attorneys can help you to prepare a document that’s agreeable to both you and your workforce.

If you’re considering using an NDA in your business, reach out to us here at Bell & Shaw Law, LLC for a consultation. The knowledgeable business attorneys can help you create a reasonable agreement that’s fair to both you and your employees.

Common Professions That Require Illinois Licensing

Common Professions That Require Illinois Licensing

According to state laws in the US, workers in certain professions are required to have licenses to guarantee that only capable and ethical individuals practice in these fields. To obtain licenses, individuals need to show that they meet the state standards applicable to a given profession. Steps involved in gaining a professional license include the following:

  • Completing specific types of training relevant to one’s field
  • Having a prescribed quantity of work experience in that field
  • Passing a licensing examination.

Licensure exams generally assess an individual’s knowledge of work procedures, professional codes and policies, and standard practices of the profession, among other topics. Licensing tests are offered by governmental groups with the main objective of regulating practitioners of a specific profession or occupation. The function of professional licensing is to safeguard the health, safety and wellbeing of the public not the profession. The majority of licenses, which are authorized and granted by state governments, give individuals the right to legally practice in their areas of expertise.

Professional Licensure in Illinois

Some typical professions that require licensing in the State of Illinois include teachers, land surveyors, physicians, attorneys, engineers, cosmetologists, nurses, building contractors, professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, electricians, physical therapists, pharmacists, acupuncturists, barbers, optometrists, and many more. In order to maintain a professional license in Illinois it is imperative that license holders renew their licenses regularly through the renewal section of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) website. The main duty of the IDFPR is to serve the public by making certain that the licensure credentials and norms of professional practice are accurately assessed, employed, and enforced.

Turn to Bell & Shaw Law for Licensing Help

Since Illinois laws regarding licensing are continually changing, it is easy for licensed professionals to misinterpret or make risky technical blunders in attempting to interpret these regulations. If you’re experiencing problems keeping up with IDFPR rules and their ongoing changes, it’s important that you consult with a knowledgeable Illinois licensing attorney at Bell & Shaw Law, LLC to help address your concerns. Contact us today for top-quality individualized guidance on the vagaries of IDFPR laws. We would love to hear from you.

When Should You Consider Using a Non-Compete Contract?

When Should You Consider Using a Non-Compete Contract?

A non-compete contract is a legal document signed by an employer and an employee whereby the employee consents not to become involved in activities that are in direct competition with the employer’s business during and for a period of time after his or her employment. In this case direct competition entails going into markets or professions that could potentially take business away from the employer’s organization.

In its most basic form, a non-compete agreement restricts employees from quitting and going to work for an organization’s competitor for a set period of time and within a certain geographical locale. The time in which a non-compete contract is effective can vary from six months to five years or more. The aim is to ensure that employers avoid investing time and resources in training and shaping employees in job-related skills, only to have them transmit those skills to a direct business competitor.

Grounds for Using Non-compete Contracts

The use of non-compete contracts should be considered under the following circumstances.

  1. When employers wish to protect their company’s goodwill and valuable trade secret information from use by competitors
  2. When employers want an effective tool for retaining talented members of their staff so that the staff members don’t move on to related jobs with competitors
  3. When employers wish to benefit longer from their investment in training and molding employees in valuable skills and proprietary work methods.

Enforcement of Non-Compete Contracts

If employers wish to keep their employees from competing with them in the employees’ new positions, non-compete agreements can be enforced when the association between employers and employees has ended, and the employees join other organizations. Activities by employees that may be considered competitive and enforceable through non-compete contracts can include the following:

  • Working for competitors that do business in the same market
  • Beginning new businesses in the same field or profession
  • Enticing the previous company’s workers to leave and work with them in a new enterprise related to that of the previous employer.

However, non-compete contracts must meet certain criteria in order to be enforceable. Thus, it’s important to have legal counsel examine any non-compete contract to ensure it isn’t excessively harmful or limiting to an employee. If you’re considering using non-compete contracts in your business, get in touch with Bell & Shaw Law, LLC today for a free consultation. Our knowledgeable business attorneys can help you create a reasonable agreement that’s fair to both you and your employees.

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