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Business litigation common after claims of discrimination

Running a business comes with many risks. Often, bigger companies come under intense scrutiny, and it is not uncommon for business litigation to take place for a variety of reasons. In particular, companies can face claims from employees or former employees alleging discrimination or other unfair treatment in the workplace.

Michigan readers may be interested in this type of lawsuit currently involving Nike. Reportedly, two women have filed claims against the company due to purported discrimination and sexual harassment. A spokesperson for the company stated that discrimination was not condoned and that Nike is committed to inclusion and diversity. Additional comment from the company was not provided in the report, but it was noted that several Nike executives had left the company earlier in the year due to similar claims.

How to protect your business trade secrets

In today’s highly mobile and competitive world, employees are often moving between companies within the same industry. The news is often reporting high-profile theft of important data from a company or the loss of key employees to competitors. A “trade secret” is any formula, pattern, device or compilation of information which is used in a business and is unknown to others.

This form of intellectual property is designed to be secret so a business has an economic advantage over competitors. Because technology continues to advance, it has become easier than ever for employees to take and reveal confidential information to current and former employers. As a business owner, it is important to know how you can protect your trade secrets from exposure. 

Business partners may consider alternative dispute resolution

Having a business partnership can be a beneficial arrangement. Of course, any time there is more than one person involved in any endeavor, there is a chance that conflict could arise. The way in which Michigan business partners decide to handle their conflicts can have a great impact on their business, and alternative dispute resolution may be worth considering

If individuals begin to notice an issue arising between partners, it may work in their best interests to directly address the problem. If parties attempt to ignore an area of conflict, they may only allow the issues to get worse. Ignoring a problem could also give room for other problems to come up as partners may begin making decisions on their own in hopes of avoiding the initial issue.

Business litigation: Company sues supplier for breach of contract

When businesses grow and branch out into different areas, they often have to work with other companies who can help with the expansion. In many cases, suppliers and vendors may be needed to obtain materials needed for products that one company may not produce itself. However, it is not unusual for conflicts to arise, and business litigation between companies could occur.

Michigan residents may be interested in such a case currently taking place in another state. Reports indicated that the dispute is between an ice cream supplier and a frozen dessert company. The two companies reportedly had an agreement that the ice cream company would supply ice cream for ice cream sandwiches produced by the frozen dessert company. As part of the agreement, the ice cream was to contain 14 percent butterfat.

Michigan employers may consider alternative dispute resolution

Most Michigan business owners and employers know that conflict in the course of operations is unavoidable. Someone along the way will feel that a situation has not been addressed as needed, and as a result, a serious issue could arise. However, these problems do not always have to head straight for litigation, and considering the creation of an alternative dispute resolution program may be useful.

There are different ways that employers could work to address issues with their employees. Of course, owners may want to first assess whether an ADR program could suit the company overall. Making this determination may mean discussing the possibility with partners, shareholders and other individuals who have a stake in the company. If they are not on board with this type of program, it may not gain much headway.

Trademarks may help protect some intellectual property

There are certain aspects of a company that can make it unique. As a result, it is common for Michigan business owners to want to protect those aspects as best as they can. In many cases, these factors fall into the category of intellectual property and need trademarks or copyrights in order to add necessary protections.

When it comes to trademarks, companies typically use these to protect images or words used as a way for consumers to more easily recognize their brands. For instance, a business may utilize a unique graphic or phrase in marketing strategies that customers and potential customers can associate with the brand. However, a company cannot simply trademark common images or words in an effort to have the image or word associated only with its business.

More millennials strive to become their own bosses

Millennials are taking business into their own hands and opening shop in record numbers -- and it isn’t hard to guess why. As baby boomers ease into retirement, the market is freeing up for more entrepreneurs to fill their shoes and they aren’t missing any beats.

But the generation is facing unique challenges. Some say millennials are struggling to blossom, unlike their predecessor cohorts. Why are more young people starting businesses? What obstacles are members of Generation Y experiencing in their entrepreneurial journeys?

How can companies protect their intellectual property?

Many Michigan business owners owe their success to different factors. However, in many cases, a particular idea, invention or other piece of unique information allowed them to pull ahead of their competitors. Because these trade secrets, also known as intellectual property, can prove so important to companies, it is vital that the information remain as protected as possible to prevent the unauthorized use of those secrets.

One of the first steps of protecting important intellectual property is to know what that valuable information is. Rather than taking a sweeping approach and treating every single piece of data or idea as vital, it may prove wiser to assess information, indicate what should be kept confidential and how to protect new, related information as it comes in. If other parties do need to learn of this information, keeping records of who has had access to the data may also be a useful protective measure.

Discrimination, contract breaches may lead to business litigation

Business owners often want to make sure that their companies run smoothly. As they gain successes and continue to grow, they may find themselves vulnerable to potential attacks against the company. Business litigation is not uncommon, and Michigan businesspeople may want to make sure that they understand and prepare for potential suits that could be filed against them.

One of the most common types of business lawsuits relates to discrimination. Workers have rights under employment law, and when someone feels that he or she was mistreated due to their race, religion or other protected factor, they could potentially bring a lawsuit against the company. This type of situation may be more common if a worker believes that he or she was retaliated against or wrongfully fired from the job based on discriminatory reasons.

Arbitration as an alternative dispute resolution method

Dealing with a business dispute can be detrimental to any Michigan company. In some cases, a conflict could grow to such intensity that legal action is necessary. Because litigation can take a considerable toll, business owners may want to consider alternative dispute resolution options, such as arbitration.

This ADR avenue allows the parties involved in the dispute to work with a neutral third party to come to a resolution outside of court. While this may seem similar to mediation, the decisions made during arbitration are typically legally binding, and the arbitrator can hear evidence from both parties. With mediation, individuals can work with a mediator to help keep discussion of the issue flowing, but the mediator does not come to binding decisions. Arbitration can often help parties save time and money when working to reach a resolution.

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