Business | Franchise | Employment | Litigation

Building A Shield & Establishing A Defense (Part 1)

Lawsuits can attack your business from various angles. In terms of direct costs, you will have to devote resources, time, and a (potentially) significant amount of money to battle your issues in court. Conversely, they can also unjustifiably tarnish your reputation and decrease the value of your company, ultimately resulting in reduced revenue streams. It would be straightforward and somewhat simple for us to explain that you need only contact our firm to increase your level of protection. Although we can and will defend your business against these attacks, we can also provide critical information. We aim to provide you with actionable steps that can put you in a better position than 90% of businesses.

The Defensive Mindset 

For many small businesses, the threats leading to litigation may outnumber your resources. Note the time-honored ratio that military organizations worldwide adopt: An offense must have an advantage of at least 3:1 to penetrate a fortified, defensive position. Historians and military analysts have challenged the ratio, but several examples demonstrate how powerful defenses are. 

In September of 1942, a Russian platoon set up in a four-story apartment building and held off waves of German attacks for 58 days. During the infamous Battle of Thermopylae, 7000 Greek soldiers stood firm in the pass of Thermopylae and fought anywhere from 70,000–300,000 members of the Persian army for three days. Second Lieutenant Audie Murphy was famously given the Medal of Honor for holding a defensive position in World War II as hundreds of infantrymen, and German tanks attacked him. 

The choice to highlight historic battles during a conversation about business is intentional. We affirm that you can protect your business from external threats. The stronger your internal controls are, the better position you will be in when you are pressured by a third-party vendor who breaches a contract. This extends to discovering that someone is using your branding to sell their products and services or an employee who accuses you of discrimination. 

How To Build Your Defensive Perimeter

Because we ended the last paragraph with an employment issue, we will start there. Be deliberate about who you bring into your circle. Though “hire slowly, fire quickly” has become widely used, that doesn’t make it any less accurate. The component many businesses miss when hiring slowly, is a detailed and systematic approach to employment screenings. If you are someone who read that and quickly accepted that you do, ask yourself if every applicant is asked the same questions. 

Not only does that kind of detail speak to your systems and processes, but it also is an effective way to protect yourself against an applicant claiming discrimination during the application process. For example, do you have readily available documentation that outlines these questions, so if someone launches an accusation, you can hand over your detailed lists of things every applicant can answer? Along that line of thought, how do your interviewers keep notes? While handwritten notes are convenient, they can easily get lost and be vulnerable to alteration. 

Quick to Fire?

It isn’t enough to say that you are “slow to hire” if you cannot elaborate on the process that makes it slow. Another critical point to address is “quick to fire.” This can be somewhat misleading and potentially problematic if not properly handled. We strongly recommend that you meet with your employees at least once a quarter and have notes on their progress, their ability (or inability) to hit their key performance indicators (KPIs), and any disciplinary actions they receive. 

You may have an employee who embodies all your core values but fails to meet the job’s demands—and vice versa. Maintaining a pulse on your employees lets you know where they are struggling, so you can find ways to maximize their value to meet your company’s desired result. When they lack both, you may be able to terminate their employment. Whereas the decision to fire them may be concluded quickly, the process that led to that determination was done methodically and deliberately. 

Get in Touch with Trembly Law Firm 

We will elaborate further on employment issues in Part 2 of this blog series, but for now, take comfort in knowing that you do not have to face these challenges by yourself. One of the secrets of highly successful people is that they surround themselves with talented individuals. Trembly Law wants to be part of your team, and we know how to draft enforceable employment agreements in Florida. If you have any additional questions or are ready to speak to a business law attorney, call us at (305) 985-4579.

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