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Portland Business & Commercial Law Blog

The foundation of solid business contracts

One important tool for Oregon businesses are legal agreements that outline expectations and requirements in certain types of transactions and relationships. Business contracts are useful for making sure every party does what was promised, and they can be helpful in everything from working with another company to hiring new employees. In order for these agreements to withstand scrutiny and be effective in case of a breach of contract, it's important they be drafted correctly.

An important element in business contracts is clearly stating all the parties involved as well as how each party stands to benefit from the agreement. Each contract should be uniquely crafted to suit the needs and objectives of the individual situation. There should also be a clear accounting of all terms and conditions. A contract should spell out what each party will do, what they bring to the agreement and what will happen in case either party does not adhere to the terms.

Should your search for employees include remote workers?

Hiring employees for your business can be a challenge. You need to operate within a specific budget, but you also want to find the best person for the job.

Depending on your location and industry, you could reach the bottom of the talent pool very quickly. As you look at your open positions, it may be time to consider whether some of those future employees could work remotely.

Confronting allegations of age or disability discrimination

Oregon employees have the right to a workplace that is free from inappropriate treatment and aggressive behavior. Allegations of age or disability discrimination in any type of business are serious, and owners would be wise to handle these situations carefully. There is a lot at stake, including the possibility of expensive litigation, loss of reputation and other complications. 

Age discrimination is a concern for employees who are age 40 and older. Older workers should not be stereotyped, forced to retire or treated unfairly because of age. However, employment decisions a business owner may have to make for the benefit of the company may be construed as discrimination by an employee who is not happy with the changes. This can lead to a formal complaint, and eventually it may lead to a lawsuit.

When is success a sign to expand your business?

As your business starts to succeed, it is easy to start thinking about your first expansion. Likely, as you built the vision behind your business, you thought about creating a brand that your clients and customers would love.

Adding people to your staff or additional equipment at the right time can be essential to meeting your new customers' demands. Now that your business is starting to take off, it is time to consider when you want to expand your business.

Is networking always valuable?

Your business is more than the products and services you provide; it is the association that people have with your brand. You build your brand both in how you provide for your clients and in the confidence other providers have in your services.

Networking can be a valuable tool to develop your brand and your presence in the community. The more you work with others in related markets, the more you will have opportunities to represent your business to future clients and customers.

Business litigation involving hazelnut processor and large co-op

An Oregon hazelnut processor is asking for compensation and damages from a large co-op over what it claims is a breach of contract. The Hazelnut Growers of Oregon cooperative is named in a lawsuit filed by Pacific Hazelnut Farms for failing to honor several specific terms in their agreement. Business litigation is appropriate when a company suffers financial harm after another party fails to adhere to the particulars of a contract.

oregonhazelnutssmaller.jpegThe plaintiff states the co-op did not honor terms of the agreement that pertained to packaging, supply and licensing. It believes that because the co-op is a significantly bigger company that the hazelnut processor, the co-op is acting in ways that take advantage of the difference. The smaller company is also suing for $1 million in damages for misappropriation of trade secrets. The total amount sought in the lawsuit amounts to $2.4 million.

Is it time to renegotiate partnership percentages?

Starting your business was simultaneously exciting and nerve-wracking. At the time, you were thankful to have a partner by your side to help you focus on the business and to share the responsibilities.

Often, what starts as an equal partnership can change over the course of a joint venture. There are many reasons the weight of responsibility changes, but eventually, it becomes time to alter your partnership agreement.

Business formation for the good of the United States

Starting a small business is not only a good step for those who want to work for themselves, but it can also be good for the country as a whole. With much of the United States still facing shutdowns and slow reopenings, Oregon entrepreneurs may feel hesitant to start the business formation process right now. However, there are many reasons this may actually be a good time to move forward. 


Economic recovery will be an important issue over the next few months and even years. To bolster new businesses and help companies launch and stay open, the government is offering various incentives to entrepreneurs, and there will likely be more legislation passed in the future for the benefit of small businesses. There are many without employment and steady income right now, and owning a business may offer a path to regaining financial stability.

Is my time too valuable for that?

Running a business always comes with undesirable tasks. You may accept them as part of owning a business, but in some cases, it is more cost-efficient to hire a specialist.

Whether you have recently opened your business or have been building your company for years, there are specific tasks that do not come naturally for you. While there is merit in learning a new skill set, there are times when it is better to focus on what you are good at and what you enjoy.

Choosing the right structure during business formation

When starting a business, there are many decisions that an Oregon owner has to decide regarding taxes and finances. One of these decisions is determining the structure of the company, a choice that will impact certain aspects of operations for years to come. Before making this decision during business formation, it is beneficial to carefully research implications and benefits of different structure options.

In most cases, business owners choose a limited liability company, sole proprietorship and corporations. Of these, the sole proprietorship is the most common option, popular for solo entrepreneurs launching their business endeavors for the first time. The optimal choice of structure depends on the unique needs and goals of the business as well as how many owners there are and whether the owner is interested in bringing in investors. 

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