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Baton Rouge Business and Commercial Law Blog

Business litigation sparked by dispute over name

Louisiana businesses will inevitably rely on a name and the recognition of that name to help their bottom line. Often, success or failure goes beyond the simple reality of having a good product to sell, but in having a known name that customers trust and associate with getting what they want. However, there are instances in which the name of a building can result in business disputes, intellectual property disputes and other disagreements. It is in these circumstances that having an understanding of business law shows its true value.

A 19th Century building that had been refurbished and rehabilitated by a company after Hurricane Katrina and was transformed into a modern business is the subject of a dispute between the company and the city of New Orleans. The city has filed a lawsuit against the holders of the lease alleging that it is using the name -- St. Roch Market -- inappropriately by getting a trademark and opening another location in Florida with the same name.

Louisiana employment law and how age discrimination is viewed

Louisiana employers are always concerned that they will be confronted with allegations of violations of employment regulations. One common problem is when there is an assertion that discrimination played a role in an employee being dismissed or a prospective employee not being hired at all. This can cover a wide range or situations. One in which employers are simultaneously vulnerable and protected is in allegations of age discrimination. Understanding the law with age discrimination and when there are exceptions to it is a vital part of being able to protect from lawsuits.

By law, employers are not allowed to do any of the following regarding a person's age: fail to hire or refuse to hire the person; discharge the person or take part in any form of discrimination due to age; classify, limit or segregate employees that would remove opportunities for advancement or negatively affect the status due to age; and lower wages because of age. Employers are also not allowed to discriminate based on age when hiring or referring for employment.

Proposed law to change sexual harassment protocol falls short

With the number of sexual harassment claims that are coming up in Louisiana and across the U.S., it is important to understand the various laws that the state has implemented to deal with them. In some cases, workers are required to sign contracts as part of their terms of employment that any sexual harassment claim will be settled in arbitration rather than civil court. This is just one example of employment law that employers and employees must be aware of.

A proposed law that would no longer allow employers to require employees to sign a contract that prevented them from suing for sexual harassment was rejected in the Louisiana House. It failed by a 50-42 tally. It required 53 votes to move forward. The idea was to stop the requirement that arbitration be used to settle sexual harassment cases. The implication is that it goes too far in protecting the alleged harassers and it is a discourages victims from reporting what has happened.

Former Saints cheerleader says firing violated employment law

Running a business and overseeing employees in Louisiana can be a difficult matter. This is especially true today when greater attention is being paid to how employees are treated and claims of violations of employment regulations are prominent. Whether it is a small business that is not well-known, a larger business that is the subject of significant attention and anything in between, employment laws are vital not just for employees, but for employers too. While employees have the right to seek compensation if they have been mistreated at work, employers also have rights under employment law and should have legal help to ensure they are fully protected in every eventuality.

For example, gender discrimination is being alleged by a former cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League. The woman, 22, asserts that the female employees who work to entertain the fans and promote the club are treated differently than the players. After working for the club for three years, the woman says that she was dismissed after an Instagram post. She says that she did not violate any rules and her account was set to private.

Understanding the critical basics of contracts

Businesses in Louisiana must understand contracts not just to provide the goods and services that are part of their area of expertise, but as a method to protect themselves from legal issues and allegations. Having a grasp of the basics regarding contracts is one of the most understated - and critical - parts of running a business. As always, any business must make certain it is protected under the law by having assistance from a law firm that is well-versed in helping companies and protecting them from allegations of breach of contract and other problems.

When two or more parties agree to do or not to do certain things, it is a contract. This is legally enforceable. The word "party" refers to individuals, companies or other legal entities. There are basic elements in every contract. The parties must be competent to enter into a contract for it to be legal. A mutual agreement must be made by all parties with these agreements stipulating what acts will be performed, what is not required based on the contract or if there are certain acts that a person who is agreeing to the contract will not perform.

Allegations of construction defects requires strong defense

Companies that work in the construction industry in Louisiana will have a variety of demands placed upon them by their clients. This is true in the public and private sector. Many companies will do extensive work in both. Part of taking on these difficult projects is adhering to the desires of the client. If there are disputes regarding the work that was done or there is an issue with the construction and it is believed to be substandard or outright dangerous, then there is a chance that the will be construction litigation.

Often, these are viewed from the perspective of the property owner. The construction company is viewed as having done something wrong such as cut corners. This perception is not always the case. Businesses need to protect their interests with a law firm that knows how to defend against unfounded or misplaced allegations. Since land is expensive and is a major investment, people will expect perfection when they hire a company to do construction work. Defects certainly do occur, but it is not necessarily the responsibility of the construction company or a contractor.

Louisiana politician denies sexual harassment allegations

People in the public eye in Louisiana and across the nation are often the target of accusations regarding their conduct. Sexual harassment, mistreatment, abusive behaviors and other violations of employment regulations are common. That, however, does not mean they are true. While employees are protected from this treatment under employment law, so too are the employers and those in supervisory positions. This is applicable for the public and private sector. Those who are accused of wrongdoing must make certain they protect themselves with help from a qualified attorney.

The Louisiana Secretary of State has been accused of sexual harassment in a lawsuit. The woman who filed the case asserts that the man committed various acts over a 10-year period. When she rejected him, she says she was retaliated against. She says that he sent her unsolicited Valentine's Day cards, gave her a variety of gifts - some of which were sex-related - and refused to accept her lack of interest. For his part, he says that they did have a relationship and that it was consensual. The attorney for the woman denies this on behalf of her client.

Alleged civil rights violation sparks lawsuit against college

Employment litigation can come about for numerous reasons and some of the most damaging to a Louisiana business or institution are when there are allegations of discrimination. For an employer confronted with allegations of civil rights violations and a dismissal or refusal to hire someone because of religious reasons, it can cause long-term problems if they do not lodge a strong defense. Having a law firm that is experienced in employment law is integral to crafting a defense against these allegations.

A football coach who applied for a job at a Baptist college in Louisiana is alleging that the president of the school refused to allow his hiring because the coach has "Jewish blood." The coach, 28, filed a lawsuit against the school and its president saying that his civil rights were violated. The coach had attended the school and applied to be the team's defensive backs coach. After being interviewed and recommended for the job by the head coach, he was informed of the refusal to hire him because he is Jewish. He took a job in Arkansas for less money than he would have gotten in the job in Louisiana.

Former employee faces accusations related to unfair competition

Business in Louisiana is tough. Success requires not just intuition, intelligence and knowhow, but also self-protection. There is a constantly looming threat that issues of unfair competition will arise. Often, this happens with former employees. Even if there was an agreement that there would not be direct competition, that frequently goes by the wayside when the former employee decides to start a competing business. This is when it is vital to understand how to move forward with business litigation with help from a law firm that is experienced in helping businesses protect their interests.

A restaurant that had left a previous location on the alleged advice of a former employee has filed a lawsuit when that former employee started a restaurant of his own at that spot. The site was where they began their business and they are now filing a lawsuit to prevent the new restaurant from opening. The married couple that started the chain filed the case in New Orleans against the former employee. The employee had been their head of business development. Over the last 10 years, the business rose to have 10 different locations extending from New Orleans to Florida.

Understanding variances of offer and acceptance

When people go into business with one another in Louisiana, having a contract is a safe way to ensure that both sides are treated fairly and get what they intended from the relationship. There can, however, be confusion as to exactly what constitutes a contract, particularly when it comes to offer and acceptance of said contract. Understanding the different types of contracts that can be used to come to an agreement about the work and what to do if there is confusion regarding the contract is imperative to a business. This can avoid legal issues, such as a breach of contract and subsequent litigation or defend against it if it does come up.

When there is a contract, one party has made an offer and the other party has accepted it. It can mean anything in terms of business from the simple to the complex. One common cause of disagreement is if it is a verbal contract and whether that is legally binding. In addition, silence after an offer is made can be a source of confusion.

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