November, 2011 | The Law Offices of Gregory D. Jordan

Legal Counsel and Expert General Contractors Often Critical to Austin Businesses

Business disputes can take many forms, but some of the more stressful ones can involve disagreements with the City over permits, inspections, and zoning. Especially for businesses wanting to open by a certain timeframe or needing to expand, delays and disputes can equal substantial lost income and a burden on other parts of the business.

What can be even more frustrating is when city authorities approve a plan but then reverse their decision. Businesses can go to great lengths and expense to pursue construction and development only to have their plans halted. Austin code ordinances require city approvals in regards to zoning, subdivision restrictions, site plans, and building permits. Each category has various restrictions. Qualified general contractors, subcontractors, and legal counsel can often help expedite the approval of new construction and building improvements.

Often before a property can be changed or developed, a site plan is reviewed by the City to determine if the idea meets zoning and land development restrictions. City personnel review the plans for their effects on matters that might include transportation, water issues (such as runoff), subdivision standards, and more. There can sometimes be unpredictability in the process and the City may require a business to amend its plans or respond to concerns about certain elements. Violations of zoning rules may involve the need to get zoning variances or modify the parts of a site plan that are in violation. Sometimes special licenses and permits are required when structures fall into the city’s right of way.

Austin business attorneys know that it may be risky for a business to rely on solely an oral approval by the city in construction or development matters. If city personnel visit a site and give oral approval, a business is usually well advised to wait for the formal documentation to initiate the next step of construction. Approval of a site plan is often critical to building permits that then allows a business owner to bring in the relevant workers to do their trades. Usually a structure cannot be used for its intended purpose until the city inspects it and issues a certificate of occupancy.

Business owners should consider having construction experts and a qualified business attorney on their side to minimize the risk of delays, disruptions and potential fines that could occur on new construction or remodeling of existing structures. To learn more, contact Austin business litigation lawyer, Austin construction litigation lawyer and Austin business attorney Gregory D. Jordan at (512) 419-0684.

Steps An Employer Can Take to Discourage Discrimination Claims

Employers should consider having an anti-discrimination policy and conducting anti-discrimination training for appropriate personnel. A written policy makes the company’s position clear. Training makes sure that employees know how to apply such policy. Training on-site can help workers understand how their actions and subconscious decisions can negatively affect others in the workplace. Stereotypes, bias, and false assumptions can cause discrimination that hurts not only the individuals affected, but also workplace productivity.

Adequate training and continuing education can help prevent and correct discrimination from occurring. Workplaces should reflect fairness and equal opportunity; but if discrimination occurs, an employer can face discrimination charges and further claims of harassment, retaliation, and hostile work environment. Businesses may want to seek the guidance of an experienced discrimination attorney to explain the law and best practices, and incorporate these steps into company handbooks, training, and continuing education.

Keeping thorough employee records also helps to deter discrimination claims or at least make them more defensible. Poor job performance and disciplinary actions that are adequately recorded can go a long way toward defeating a discrimination claim. Employers may wish to take preventative steps to be sure any job changes will not be perceived as discriminatory. While that is not always possible, a few minutes of preemptive thought may save a nasty dispute and prevent tens of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees. Managers, for example, may want to think through any modifications of a worker’s role, hours, and future opportunities with human resources, their supervisor and/or legal counsel before an actual change occurs. A good rule of thumb is, when a manager is in doubt that something could be misperceived as discrimination, that manager should talk with his or her boss, HR or legal counsel.

Employers should have a knowledgeable Austin employment lawyer on their side when faced with discrimination, retaliation, and harassment claims. To learn more, contact Austin employment attorney and Austin business lawyer Gregory D. Jordan at (512) 419-0684.

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