Common Georgia Business Disputes and How to Resolve Them
Running a business in Georgia involves regularly dealing with multiple people and entities. Disagreements can often arise among business owners, with employees and with outside parties such as contractors, vendors, suppliers and customers. Resolving disputes effectively means not letting them interrupt operations, intrude on profitability or negatively affect the business’s reputation. Successful pursuit of legal remedies requires a firm understanding of your rights and obligations.
These are the most common disputes affecting small businesses and the resolution methods often used:
- Contractual disputes — The terms and conditions in contracts can be subject to disagreement. Issues may include breach of contract, non-payment or disputes over deliverables and timelines. These disputes typically can be resolved through negotiation, mediation or arbitration.
- Employment disputes — These include disagreements over wages, working conditions or contract terms. Claims of wrongful termination or workplace discrimination can also arise. Disputes are often resolved through internal HR processes but a complaint might be filed with the EEOC or the Georgia Department of Labor.
- Customer complaints — Disputes may arise over claimed product defects, poor service or misrepresentation. Issues such as refunds, returns and warranty claims can also lead to conflicts. These matters are frequently settled by the business taking positive actions to achieve customer satisfaction, but sometimes they require a mediated solution.
- Vendor and supplier disputes — These can include impasses over the quality, quantity or timeliness of goods and services provided. Pricing disagreements or disputes over contract terms may also occur. Resolution may involve renegotiating contracts.
- Intellectual property disputes — These include claims of infringement of trademarks, copyrights or patents or theft of trade secrets. Negotiation and mediation can be effective in reaching settlements or licensing agreements.
- Financial disputes — Disagreements with banks, lenders or creditors can arise regarding loans, interest rates, or repayment terms, along with issues related to accounting practices. Financial disputes are sometimes resolved through restructuring of financial agreements.
- Partners and owners disputes — Conflicts among business partners and owners can arise regarding decision-making, profit-sharing or the direction of the business. Resolution may involve buy-sell agreements, mediation, or arbitration.
- Regulatory compliance issues — These may include allegations of non-compliance with local, state, or federal regulations, including legal issues related to permits, licenses, and industry-specific regulations. Resolution typically involves entering workouts with regulatory authorities.
- Insurance disputes — There can be disagreements with insurance providers over coverage amounts or resolution of claims, including issues related to liability and business interruption. Disputes may be resolved through negotiation with the insurance provider or through mediation or arbitration.
Whenever possible, an experienced Georgia business lawyer will pursue remedies efficiently through alternative dispute resolution methods. However, your attorney must be prepared to go to court when litigation is the only viable option for vindicating your rights.