Brooks, Tarulis & Tibble Blog

Latest from Brooks, Tarulis & Tibble Blog

In these financially troubled times many owners are confronted with the dire choice of saving their businesses or their personal assets. Saving a business can include a reorganization. Your business can reorganize with a bankruptcy (Chapter 11) or a creditor workout. In deciding how to reorganize your business, you should consider the differences between a Chapter 11 bankruptcy and a creditor workout, including: Timing. A workout can be faster as a bankruptcy has many notice and timing requirements. Scope. While a bankruptcy involves all creditors, a workout need only involve those parties necessary to reorganize your business. Cost. Workout costs are…
One of the greatest threats to your business’ electronic data is not closing the door when offboarding employees, contractors or third parties. Not terminating their access may expose your business to hacking, phishing, ransom attacks and other cyber threats. Your offboarding process should include HR and IT, and should be routinized and documented, including: Creating and maintaining an inventory of the party’s digital life, including company and personal devices, accounts, access, administrative permissions, licenses and responsibilities. Setting a deadline for terminating all access, taking into account time or access needed to finish up or transfer work. Auditing for former employees’…
While operating your business as a corporation or other authorized business entity provides owners, officers, directors, and employees with limited liability protection, once the business is suffering from financial distress or becomes insolvent, that protection is in jeopardy, and business owners need to act with caution to preserve that protection. Some steps to protect your distressed businesses’ limited liability include: Ensuring that all representations are truthful and not misleading. Conducting regular and appropriate meetings to ensure that directors, officers, and managers are aware of the business situation. Retaining counsel to advise not only the business, but its officers and directors…
The start of the new year it is a great time to check your employment practices, policies and procedures, and some to look at include: Reassess your operating during COVID plan to see if it is up to date. Consider whether to require employee COVID-19 vaccination. Make sure anti-harassment training is on your calendar or completed. Evaluate D&I initiatives and update EEO policies. Be aware of minimum wage salary increases. Re-consider classification of independent contractors. Monitor use of biometrics. Update sick and family leave policies. Determine if the fluctuating workweek method is right for your workplace. Update processes to comply…
When confronted with overwhelming financial difficulties, owners often consider whether it is better to reorganize or liquidate their business. In making that decision, owners have many factors to consider, including: Nature of the Economy. Is there a place for your business in the current or future economy? Nature of the Business. Is there still a market for the business’ products and services, and does it still have profitable employees and customers? Assets. What assets does your business have and how can they be utilized or their value maximized? Liabilities. What liabilities can be shed or reduced, if any, to enable…
It is with great sadness that we report our dear friend and partner David Wentz passed away suddenly on January 4, 2021. His passing is not only devastating to his wife Tonya and their three children, but a tremendous loss to our entire community. His tireless and enthusiastic involvement with many community groups and charities will be missed, as well as the numerous charitable, service and community events he initiated. David’s commitment to his clients and his dedication to our firm and the practice of law will be greatly missed. While no one can replace David, our firm will continue…
The value of many businesses is often dependent on its employees. Retaining good employees, particularly key employees, is important to a business, as is avoiding the substantial time and cost commitment required to recruit and hire replacement employees. Some of the factors that enable you to keep top employees include: Compensation. Be competitive and consistent with the employees’ value to your business. Benefits. Packages should be updated frequently to meet employee needs and the market. Technology. Provide employees with the best technology to enhance their performance. Mobility. Acknowledge and accommodate mobility and working at home. Policies. Periodically review to align…
For aging baby boomers there are a plethora of living options from senior communities to assisted care facilities to skilled nursing homes. Each has its own benefits, costs and amenities, and are all subject to a written contract. As the services and purposes of each vary, so do their contracts, such that analysis and comparison can be difficult. While each community has its counselors (salespersons) to promote their facilities, potential residents and their families should have their own independent counsel to advise and guide them, particularly as these facilities require a substantial and sometimes lifetime financial commitment. Your attorney and…
The COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden increase of the number of employees working at home puts even more pressure on your business to protect its proprietary, confidential and trade secret information. Some concerns you should address to protect confidential information include: • Discuss at-home security of your business information with your employees. • Limit what can be printed or downloaded and ensure safe disposal. • Have your employees keep business conversations confidential. • Have employees use only business equipment, not their personal/family devices. • Have employees use only secure networks (your VPN). • Educate at-home employees to identify, avoid and…
Whether the property damaged is personal or business related, you could lose insurance coverage or protection by failing to give timely or proper notice of the claim. Some issues to consider in submitting your claim to your insurance carrier include: Contact your carrier or broker quickly as notice periods may be short. Follow all notice of claim procedures exactly as required. Retain proof of the receipt of your claim and copies of all documents submitted. If coverage or claim procedures are on a website, take screen shots. Preserve all policies and documents relating to your insurance and the claim. Preserve…
Cyberattacks, hacking, data theft, ransom demands and other intrusions into your data storage and operating systems can cripple or ruin your business. Experts report that the threat increases yearly, and even more with increased reliance on third-party contractors and remote/work from home employees. Some ways to reduce the threat and minimize potential loss include: Retain trusted and experienced system security contractors. Include remote employees and third-party users in your risk management program. Install and update security on all equipment used by employees and contractors. Allow users the least access necessary to enable them to do their jobs. Monitor user activity.…
Employees working from home for any reason still require supervision, monitoring, and be provided access to other employees, supervisors, human resources and other resources. Some tips for management of remote and employees working at home include: Allow flexible work hours. Provide all needed technology, equipment and access. Require an established work schedule. Require and establish timekeeping and reporting procedures. Keep connected with consistent and frequent written, audio and visual communications. Schedule video and group conferences in advance. Respect employees and their families’ limitations and boundaries. Establish and require accountability on deadlines and productivity. Schedule regular check-ins and project/work status reports.…
In response to an insurance claim you may receive a Reservation of Rights Letter from your insurance company stating it believes that there is no insurance coverage or duty to defend you for the claim, but that it will continue to defend you during the time if its investigation. Such letters put you on notice that you may not have insurance coverage for the loss, and should spur you to take certain action to protect yourself and your business. Some steps to take on receiving a Reservation of Rights Letter include: Review the letter and your referenced policy to understand…
The June 25, 2019 law legalizing recreational cannabis also provided that certain prior cannabis arrests, case dispositions and convictions are to be expunged, or removed from the public records, as they negatively impact employment, education, credit, housing and other aspects of life. While Category 1 records (arrests, dismissals, acquittals, supervisions and probations) are to be automatically expunged by the State over the following five years, progress is slow. Category 2 records (convictions for minor offenses) are also to be automatically expunged by the State, but there is a large backlog and little progress. Category 3 (other cannabis convictions) require the…
On June 16, 2020, Governor Pritzker made November 3, 2020, election day, an official state holiday, adding it to the state holiday calendar. The same law also eased restrictions on voting by mail. As a result, all state offices and most municipal offices will be closed on election day. Although the law does not mandate employers to close for election day, Illinois law requires employers to provide employees two hours off (unpaid) on election day to vote if the employee’s shift starts or ends less than 2 hours before or after the polls close. Employees must request this time off…
We believe that a qualified and respected judiciary is essential to preserving democracy and the rule of law, and are frequently asked by family and friends for recommendations regarding who to vote for in judicial elections and retentions. It is our pleasure and privilege to share reliable information with you in this regard. The Judicial Evaluation Committees of the Illinois State Bar Association and the DuPage County Bar Association expend substantial efforts to research the credentials of judicial candidates and survey attorneys and others who have firsthand knowledge of each of the Judges and candidates on the ballot. The Committees’…