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Anyone ER under hostile conditions?
Old 02-23-2015, 04:59 AM   #1
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Anyone ER under hostile conditions?

I don't want to be too specific other than to say my workplace has become toxic with activities of others being highly questionable. I am one of several owners of my business. I have declared my retirement from the business. I now find that they are meeting and taking actions without my involvement even though I am still an owner. I even was sent an electronic communication (in error) which openly criticized me.

I'm not a very litigious person but I have started to consider hiring representation. Has anyone had to go into ER this way? If so any advice?

Thanks.
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Old 02-23-2015, 06:02 AM   #2
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Cover your behind by securing documentation on the questionable and toxic issues and statutory docs of the business and store these outside of the business asap.
Then start thinking on your real goals: do you want to stay as owner or do you want to sell? Different goals, different tactics.
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Old 02-23-2015, 06:13 AM   #3
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Make sure you have and understand the corporate governance documents. They will be the basis for what the other owners can or can't initiate i.e. actions, amendments. Also become familiar with your state's laws concerning the type of business yours might be.
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Old 02-23-2015, 07:04 AM   #4
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I retired due to toxic politics but it was a corporate job- much cleaner than in your case, where your retirement security may depend on what you get for your share and how it's run. Definitely get a lawyer and keep copies of everything. The lawyer should also be able to help you distance yourself legally from the "questionable" activities if they cause trouble down the road.
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Old 02-23-2015, 07:54 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Travelwanted View Post

I'm not a very litigious person but I have started to consider hiring representation. Has anyone had to go into ER this way? If so any advice?

Thanks.
Are you concerned this affects your $ share of the business?
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:15 AM   #6
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I think an owner would want an attorney when leaving the company regardless of the toxicity level--won't there be agreements made as to your future status and involvement, documents to sign, etc.? It doesn't have to imply litigation is on your mind.

Good luck!
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:18 AM   #7
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I presume that you do not have a controlling interest. I think it all depends on the financial terms of your leaving. If it is a clean break and they have to buy you out, then just accelerate your plan and get the heck out of there. Otherwise, you'll need to negotiate an out and may need to hire a lawyer.
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Old 02-23-2015, 09:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travelwanted View Post
I don't want to be too specific other than to say my workplace has become toxic with activities of others being highly questionable. I am one of several owners of my business. I have declared my retirement from the business. I now find that they are meeting and taking actions without my involvement even though I am still an owner. I even was sent an electronic communication (in error) which openly criticized me.

I'm not a very litigious person but I have started to consider hiring representation. Has anyone had to go into ER this way? If so any advice?

Thanks.
Are there clear and defined procedures when an owner wants to leave/sell out? Hopefully so, which will make your process MUCH easier.

If not, then begin ASAP discussing with the other owners about valuation and methods and procedures. The longer you wait - and the more "questionable" activities that go on - the less they may want to negotiate with you, or possibly the financially weaker the company may be.

As far as legal liability you may have for their actions - is it an LLC? Are some actions possibly negligence? An LLC, I believe, does not shield you or your assets from willful negligence. But either way, you might want to tread very carefully with whichever course you follow, either in opening disavowing you from their activities in writing with certified letters, or possibly involving law enforcement (which could impact the business and the business valuation and any money you might get from the business). Depending on how much you are looking to get for your share of the business, it could pay to retain a lawyer for advice and representation.
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Old 02-23-2015, 10:20 AM   #9
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I have declared my retirement from the business. I now find that they are meeting and taking actions without my involvement even though I am still an owner.
These two sentences are in conflict. Care to elaborate? (IMO, if you are retired, although you are an owner, you are not working for the business.)
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Old 02-23-2015, 02:42 PM   #10
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Thanks for the replies. I was a bit too vague so let me address some of the great responses.

I have declared my retirement, but this will not actually occur until summer. I still retain ownership and its rights until I sell my shares. I must give them a very long notice or I'd be gone quickly. If I do not give the notice, I will forfeit significant residual income I am due after I leave.

The "questionable" activities simply refer to my feeling they have breached their fiduciary duties as officers of the corporation to me as shareholder. Each shareholder has roughly equal interest. No one person who has control. However, meetings have been held and decisions made that materially affect me yet I was not notified of the meetings or decisions. I had to find this out through an employee.

Fortunately there is already an outlined buy-sell agreement in place but apparently it is "being revised". I certainly will have an attorney look over it as I fear they will put measures in it to limit my abilities for recourse in the future.

The sale price is already determined for the most part. There is also some residual income I was receive for a set period. I will make sure the attorney sees that this is paid out correctly.

It is an uncomfortable situation at best. I am just trying to navigate this properly. I think I'll retain the attorney. At least this will put them on notice.

BTW, the electronic communication that was disparaging to me came from the office manager and was intended for another owner.
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Old 02-23-2015, 02:57 PM   #11
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Concur, get an attorney involved and cover your interests. This is an area you want to make sure you don't get the short stick.
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Old 02-23-2015, 10:28 PM   #12
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Just as an aside - Saul in Better Call Saul (Breaking Bad prequel) currently has a subplot where Saul is trying to get his brother's share of a buy out from a legal partnership and the partners are using legal tricks to keep the brother on the payroll. They do not want to cough up the money to buy out his share.
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