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Rhode Island Legal Blog

Friday, March 2, 2018

Buying an Existing Franchise

While purchasing and establishing a new franchise unit may seem easier than starting from scratch with your own business model, it is still a time consuming and expensive undertaking. Franchisees must find a location, make needed renovations and secure various licenses or permits. Of course, even after the business opens its doors, it will take more time to acquire loyal customers and generate revenue. With big expenses and minimal revenue, it should come as no surprise that most new businesses operate in the red for the first year or two. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur who is looking to hit the ground running, it might be a good idea to avoid the laborious setup process and consider buying an existing franchise, often referred to as a “resale.”


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Friday, February 23, 2018

Corporate Bylaws: What Do I Need to Include?

Corporate bylaws are a critical component in the foundation of any corporation, partnership or association. Generally speaking, the bylaws establish the rules for internal operations and governance.  While business owners have a large degree of control when it comes to the bylaws, they must be in compliance with state law. Some states have strict mandates on what information must be included, while others may not specify exactly what must be covered and there may not be a set format. However, there are certain things that are typically covered in a company's bylaws.


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Friday, February 16, 2018

Dissolving a General Partnership

There are a number of reasons to dissolve a general partnership.  Whether business is not going well, you can’t get along with your business associates or you are ready to retire, it might be time to end your partnership.  Before making the final decision, you should consider whether dissolving the partnership is the only option.  Is there any other way to alleviate the problem?  Could you buy out your partner or simply sell your share allowing the business to continue under different management?  Dissolution is generally not a simple process, and if it is your only option, it’s important that you be aware of some important issues that may be present.


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Friday, February 2, 2018

Working With an Independant Contractor

If you are a business owner, you will likely consider hiring an independent contractor to assist with one, or multiple projects.  Independent contractors can be beneficial is a variety of situations and should not be overlooked as assets to your business.  It is important for management to understand how these workers are classified and the legal implications that may result from working with them.

Independent contractors are those that provide services to an individual or business but that retain control over how those services are rendered.  In an employer-employee situation, the employer has control over what the employee does and how he does it.  When it comes to independent contractors, employers have much less control.  This level of control is one of the determining factors when it comes to classifying workers as employees or independent contractors.  Control comes in varying degrees and might refer to many different aspects of the employment; this may include scheduling, the methods and techniques that a worker uses, training, where the work is done and the frequency of the work.  There is no one test or bright line to determine if someone is an employee or an independent contractor and all factors have to be taken into consideration in each case.  Sometimes, the details of employment are agreed to in a contract.  If you’re considering hiring an independent contractor, you should enter into a formal contract with them up front in order to avoid confusion in the event of a conflict.


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Friday, January 26, 2018

How to Valuate a Small Business

Whether you are an owner considering whether or not you should sell your small business or an individual thinking about buying a business that is on the market, it is important to determine how much the business is worth.  This can be a daunting task.  Every business is different and for that reason no single method can be used in every case. Below are the most common methods used to determine the approximate value of a small business.

The assets a business holds can be used to determine its approximate value.  Generally, a business is worth at least as much as its holdings, so looking to tangible and intangible assets can provide a baseline amount.  If you choose to use this method, the business’ balance sheet should provide all of the information you need.  This method may be too simple to be used for all businesses, especially those that are doing well and generating a lot of profits.


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Monday, January 15, 2018

Employee Handbooks: Important Provisions

An employee handbook is an instrument that is widely used by employers to communicate their expectations and policies to employees.  There are many reasons to develop and distribute an employee handbook.  These written documents enable employers to clearly outline what is expected from employees and what employees can expect from the employer.  In the event of a dispute with an employee or when a claim is made with a government agency, the handbook can be invaluable in protecting employer’s position. 

When drafting an employee handbook, certain information should be included. This includes:

Wages, Salaries and Other Compensation

An employee handbook should cover how and when employees will be paid.  It should also note how time worked it to be recorded, what taxes will be taken out and explain overtime policies.

Schedules


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Friday, January 5, 2018

Real Estate Contracts in a Nutshell

Buying a home typically involves entering into an agreement with the seller and most real estate contracts contain standard terms. However, it is essential to consult with an experienced real estate attorney who can review the contract. Let's take a look at some of the key terms in a real estate contract.

Obviously, the agreement must specify the purchase price. Unless you are paying for the property in cash, it will be necessary to obtain a loan from a bank or mortgage lender. Accordingly, the contract should state that the offer is contingent upon a loan approval. If possible, the interest rate and other terms of the loan should be specified to make sure you can make the monthly payment. If the application is rejected or lender offers a higher rate, you may need to back out of the deal. In short, without this provision in the contract, you may lose your deposit.


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Friday, December 29, 2017

Negative Online Reviews - Do They Constitute Business Defamation?

We are living in the digital age and consumers use the internet to make a variety of decisions, including what products to buy and what professionals to hire. During their research,  many savvy consumers go online to look at the reviews the business has received on local business directories like Yelp or Google+.  These online reviews can have a profound effect on the success of your business so it is important to understand your rights should your business receive a negative one. 


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Friday, December 15, 2017

Should Employers Enroll in E-Verify? Pros and Cons

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, in partnership with the Social Security Administration (SSA), offers E-Verify to help employers instantly determine an employee's eligibility to work.  Initial confirmations and "Tentative Non Confirmations" are available in as little as three to five seconds.

The voluntary Internet-based program works by comparing the information from an employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, with Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records.  Instead of simply retaining I-9s on file in their own offices, employers who enroll in E-Verify must enter the I-9s of all new hires into the program's database.


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Friday, December 1, 2017

Form I-9 Inspections

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires employers to verify the identity of their employees and their eligibility to work in the U.S.  To comply, employers must retain original I-9 Forms for current employees and, for former employees, keep them for at least three years.  These need not be submitted to the government but must be available for inspection.  From time to time, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) ask to inspect the forms. 

What Does an Inspection Entail?

An employer who receives a Notice of Inspection must produce its I-9s, usually within 3 business days, and may be asked for payroll records, employee lists, articles of incorporation, and business licenses.  ICE may ask the employer to bring the documents to an ICE field office, or officials may visit the employer.  At the inspection, in addition to printed documents, the employer must retrieve any electronically stored documents requested and provide the ICE officer with the hardware and software needed to view them.  The employer must also provide an electronic summary of information in the I-9s, if one exists.


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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Privacy and Security in Business

Almost every business collects uses and records customer information in some way, shape or form.  Your business may obtain names, addresses, telephone numbers, credit and debit card information, social security numbers or health care and insurance information in the ordinary course of business.  This data is often required in order for you to be able to serve your customers. However, you are responsible for keeping this data secure and your business must comply with Federal and state laws governing it.  The loss, theft and/or unauthorized use of this information could have devastating effects on your customer’s lives and on your business. 


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The Law Offices of Richard Palumbo, LLC assists clients with Real Estate Law, Business Law, Probate, Evictions for Landlords and Property Damage matters in Rhode Island including Cranston, Warwick, Coventry, Johnston, Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls and all areas throughout RI.



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