When Attorney John R. Foley formed his law firm in 1994, he intended to offer legal services and representation individuals, as well as, to companies in need of legal guidance. To this day, corporate advising and whistleblower representation are among some of the primary practice areas.
We provide legal services to corporations on matters of corporate governance, commercial contracts, workplace disputes, board resolutions and other human resource issues. We handle cases involving whistleblowing, mainly because they risk retaliation from the organizational leadership.
Issues of Corporate Advising in Michigan
Business Consulting and Strategy: Businesses require legal guidance to determine who they are, the direction they plan to take, and the strategies they will employ. If businesses fail to evaluate the impact of laws in their current policy, they risk legal disputes. Corporate consultation applies to new and expanding businesses, where they must acknowledge the right negotiation channels. Statutory audit is critical in the identification of any inconsistencies within the existing corporate legislations. Some company laws are outdated and may restrain the organization from engaging in business practices with other organizations.
Conversely, corporate advisory services are vital during the selection of the business organization form. Formation documents require the drafting and filing of an experienced attorney, especially in cases involving limited liability companies, corporations, and sole proprietorship.
Our attorneys can help with making sure that all legal bases are covered. Importantly, the legal service will help create the best solutions for your business. We understand that the formation of a company is a tiresome experience, and thus, our attorneys offer their professional guidance in achieving your interests.
Financings and Equity Capital Raises: Big companies require funding for various reasons such as investment and financing of their operations. However, most companies end up in legal disputes when they enter into financing agreements whose terms are unclear or unfair. Corporates are urged to be careful when seeking finances and to always consult with attorneys. The two primary ways that organizations can use to fund their operations include: debt and equity. However, the management must consult which of the two has favorable terms.
The challenges regarding financing and equity capital occur when the company has to interact with the stakeholders or other investors. The agreement terms represent the best interests of the organization without violating the law. Debt capital involves the borrowing of money under a contractual agreement, where the funds are to be paid at a later date. However, the capital has a burden of interests and thus, you need legal advice on the bests terms to reach a favorable period.
On the other hand, the sales of stock shares also generate equity capital. Selling of shares and lending to small businesses require the development of terms of the agreement. More so, the entire process must be done in accordance with the law. Therefore, you need to consult an attorney to draft the best terms for an agreement to protect your investment.
Corporate Governance: Large organizations are guided by the law as to how they are managed and run. Corporate Governance protects social and economic development by keeping financial institutions and corporations honest. Corporate rules are critical for the effective running of the business and protection of stakeholder’s rights. Besides the corporate governance laws, expect that companies should have guidelines on how to resolve issues and make decisions.
Legal advice is primary in corporate Governance in drafting the company’s rights and privileges, such as developing the expectations of employees when they violate the workplace laws. Engaging legal advice is critical in minimizing workplace disputes and legal actions. An example is when the management mistreats employees by denying them a fair wage, which is a violation of the employment act.
Our corporate governance lawyers are willing to respond to the needs of your company by keeping in touch with executives in your company and making sure they are well informed before making any decision. They will assist in ensuring that the organization is in compliance with various labor and corporate laws to minimize legal disputes.
Issues on Whistleblowing Protocols in Real Estate Practice
Whistleblowing refers to the act of reporting any forms of wrongdoing in an organization to either an external or an internal body.
- Internal whistleblowing involves the revealing of misappropriation of unwanted practices to a source within the company.
- External whistleblowing comprises of the person who reveals a company’s malpractices to an outside party such as the media or the regulatory in charge of the industry.
Different organizations should come up with whistleblowing policies to protect those who are interests in the ethical conduct of the companies. The following are issues on whistleblowing in real estate practices.
Reporting wrongdoing: Whistleblowing policies encourage personnel to report any wrongdoings while protecting the interests of the company. Organizations should form independent internal oversight bodies to receive the reports and incidences of wrongdoing. Those who report illegal business activities should be protected from any form of retaliation as required by the law. The requirements foster the culture of accountability because the fear of retaliation discourages the whistleblowers from speaking out.
Support for complainants: Whistleblowers who present critical information should be listened to when they receive threats. The significant barrier for support for whistleblowers is the lack of an external body and independent mechanisms to listen to their grievances. More so, the process of handling complaints should be different from that of reporting wrongdoings. The claim should be investigated, and if found to be accurate, actions should be taken against the retaliator.
On the other hand, whistleblowers should not feel discouraged to pinpoint wrongdoings when they work in an organization without a proper whistleblowing mechanism. You should seek legal advice before publishing any company secrets. In the past, some whistleblowers have ended up in prison for releasing corporate secrets. In the United States, for you to qualify as a whistleblower, you must have evidence that the employer violated some laws or regulations. However, some rules, such as the Espionage Act of 1917, can be used against a whistleblower. Organizations are urged to create whistleblowing policies to avoid scenarios where employees release corporate secrets.
Considerations in Developing a Whistleblower Policy:
Management, with the help of an experienced attorney, can draft a workplace whistleblowing policy and present it to board members or directors for endorsement.
Definition of individuals covered in the policy: A whistleblower policy should include all parties in an organization and the external organization that interact with the management. An example is a corporate company that can consist of the employees, supervisors, managers, top executives and business associates. The definition of individuals covered by the policy is critical in setting the parameters of the rule.
Nonretaliation provision: Whistleblowing policy should protect whistleblowers from any form of retaliation. Employees who choose to report wrongdoings should not face criticism or be discriminated against by other workers. More so, the provision should include a disclaimer that those found discriminating against the whistleblowers will face the full force of the law. The regulation is critical because if an organization allows whistleblowers to be bullied, future incidences of wrongdoings will go unreported.
Confidentiality: An effective whistleblowing policy guarantees the unanimity of the person who reports the wrongdoing. Privacy is the key to encouraging more employees to report incidences that are unethical or in violation of workplace laws. An example is allowing workers to end unanimous tips for the whistleblowing committee to investigate. However, the technique has a setback of facilitating the reporting of false details. An employee with a grudge on a fellow worker may report incorrect information through the single whistleblowing channel.
Process: An effective whistleblowing policy should include the process of reporting a claim and the timeline for investigating the information offered. An example is when the whistleblower is expected to file their claim in a specific department. In case it is a sensitive issue, the organization can develop a mechanism that the message will reach the top management. For instance, it is inappropriate for the senior managers to receive information that the supervisor is unaware of. Some of the appropriate suggestions are the use of specific telephones and emails to reach a particular department.
Communication: The whistleblowing policy should be known to the employees and all other stakeholders in an organization. The employees can receive the plan through the training programs or employee’s handbook. It should be part of the employee’s orientation procedure conducted by the human resource department. It can also be posted on the company’s website for the employees to read at their convenience. Employees should be provided with additional resources to facilitate their reporting of any wrongdoing. An example is the protection they get in case they have to testify against the accused.
If you require legal advice or services for corporate needs, including the drafting of a whistleblowing policy, kindly contact our team of attorneys. We are here for you. We will advise your company before making any corporate agreement. Visit our offices today in Michigan for more details on how you can utilize our services.