Ask Entrepreneur - Legal Basics For Startups

Are there limits as to how much an employer can monitor your activity at work?

Is it legal for my employer to place a hearing device at my work station and listen to my conversations? We're allowed to use cell phones while at work.
Nina Kaufman

How can I make my client pay me for work I've already completed?

I'm an independent contractor and didn't get paid for a recent job. The company who owes me money went out of business and I cant seem to contact the owner. What should I do?
Nina Kaufman

Should I have my lawyer business partner incorporate our company?

I'm looking to start a business with a good friend of mine who's a lawyer. He was going to be the one to incorporate our business--but I was told that this might be a conflict of interest. Is this true? Should I get someone to incorporate for us?
Nina Kaufman

Can an employer legally put his entire staff on 1099 status?

My former boss has had our entire office getting 1099s--rather than W2s--for over a decade. What ramifications can he face and what would be our course of action if we received the compensation and filed taxes under 1099 status for many years?
Ryan Himmel

Does the founder of a non-profit have legal rights to make final decisions?

Our issue is with a founder who is saying he has the right to the final say in some issues concerning our non-profit club for children. No where in our written by-laws or operations and proceedures does it say that the founder has any deciding powers.
Nina Kaufman

Is the franchisee the only party of interest in a breach of contract lawsuit?

The case was brought by a franchisee customer. Do we include the franchisor as a defendant in the complaint?
Nina Kaufman

Am I required to provide workmans' comp?

I am the owner and sole employee of my company.
Nina Kaufman

Can I work as a freelancer if I signed a non-compete agreement?

I signed a non-compete agreement for a technology company I worked for in Michigan. Can I work as an independent contractor after I left the company? The agreement states three years, but I think that is very long in the world of technology.
Nina Kaufman

What's the difference between an employee and a 1099 contractor?

Can an employer call you an employee when they provide all of the job materials then 1099 you?
Nina Kaufman

What permits does a Canadian citizen need to open shop in the U.S.?

I would like to open a music school in Florida that will eventually evolve to encompass all different forms of art.
Nina Kaufman

How do I make a customer pay me for my completed work?

I signed an independent contractor agreement and and so did the business I was doing work for. The customer has yet to pay me and the date on the contract has already past. Is there something that I can do to make them pay me?
Nina Kaufman

Can my employer gain rights to my book if I sign a non-disclosure agreement?

I am a therapist at a treatment center and want to write a self-help book. It will not include patient confidentiality information or products/ideas used at the center.
Nina Kaufman

Can I be forced to work consecutive days until a project is complete?

I work in a coal mine and when we move our long-wall section our company changes our three days a week, 12 hours per day schedule, to a six days a week, nine hours per day schedule. After we fall behind their unrealistic schedule they tell us that it's mandatory to work seven days straight for nine hours per day until the move is complete--which usually takes between 15 to 30 days. Do we have any rights against this, or do we just have to deal with it?
Nina Kaufman

I'm an independent contractor for a maid service, do I have to bond each maid?

I will be providing a maid service as an independent contractor and will start with one or two maids but I don't know how bonding works. Do I get one for the company, or one for each maid/contractor? Also where, and how do I get this?
Nina Kaufman

Is my employer required to grant me the same severance as my peers?

My employer wants to lay me off due to my disability. They want to give me a severance package that's not equal to other employees since I have not worked there for over a year. Is this legal?
Nina Kaufman