Disputes between partners, former and current employees, competitors, and customers happen, but you can head off many issues before they start with proper planning. Here are a few tips to consider:
Business partner disputes
Ownership-group disputes often fall under the concept of a breach of fiduciary duty. As owners of a business, you must act in that business’s best interests, and often conflict can arise when owners disagree on what that looks like. Clearly outlining owner responsibilities can mitigate this, but exactly what form that takes will depend on your organizational structure.
Employers and employees often see themselves as oppositional forces, and as such, there are many places where these disputes can emerge:
- Employment contracts
- Collective bargaining
- Non-disclosure agreements and non-compete agreements
- Hiring practices
- Wrongful termination
Each of these areas requires a slightly different strategy to resolve. A strong employee manual makes a difference by setting exact expectations, but that does not remove all litigation risk.
Disputes with competitors and customers
Disputes of this nature are much more volatile, as their origins are much more difficult to predict. A competitor might see a current market situation as unfair and pursue that route, or they may believe you’re infringing on their intellectual property somehow. Customers may take exception with any number of policies or products you produce.
The volatility here is what makes a preemptive resolution difficult to quantify. However, the inability to predict an action does not preclude the ability to end it quickly.
Early, aggressive litigation is cost-effective
If you face a lawsuit in any area of your business, by taking swift, strong action, you and your representation set the terms of the case. If your position is strong enough, you may not ever need to go into a courtroom.