Everybody is an Employee…Maybe…Possibly

Businesses operating in or expanding to the US, including those from Ireland and Northern Ireland, use independent contractors to avoid some of the baggage associated with the employer/employee relationship under US law.  The use of independent contractors recently has gotten more complicated due to the US Department of Labor’s publication of Administrator’s Interpretation 2015-1.  The Interpretation is part of the Department’s closer monitoring of the ‘independent contractor’ designation. Businesses from Ireland or Northern Ireland operating in or expanding to the US, and using the services of an independent contractor (such as a sales agent) should take another look at how they designate a person as an ‘independent contractor,’ as soon as possible. Continue reading

Of War Stories and Security Interests

This is a good ‘war story’ about getting paid.  The client was (and is) based in the European Union, and they sold product to the US market.  Their products were (and are) high-value, about $100,000+ per item. Not stuff I’d be able to buy, but I digress. The company insisted–strongly–on using their ‘home country’ terms and conditions of sale in the US, without thoroughly reviewing whether there was anything in the home country law that could adversely affect them in the US. We were not involved at that point. Continue reading

You’re Not Doing Business in the US…Unless You Are

I spoke recently with the owner of an Irish company that sells its products online to purchasers in the US and other countries. The US isn’t a true focus of this company’s expansion efforts, but the US market is a nice added benefit to the company’s revenue stream. They don’t have a US-specific website, but if you go to their order page you can enter a US address for delivery. In discussing their sales efforts, I asked what the company does in terms of US-focused terms/conditions of sale and related agreements. Nothing, I was told, because the company isn’t ‘doing business’ in the United States. In a limited way, that answer is correct. But, that answer also is wrong, and dangerously so. Continue reading

Webinars for Irish and Northern Irish Companies (free content, too!)

Late last year, we held a series of webinars directed to Irish and Northern Irish companies looking to do (or doing) business in the US. The webinars were well-attended, and, in part, led to the creation of this blog. We want to share those webinars, and their content, with you.

The first webinar introduced the concept of ‘smart exporting’ and provided a high-level view of some key legal issues relevant to Irish and Northern Irish companies in the US market. The presentation for this ‘smart exporting’ webinar can be found here; the recording of the webinar (requires registration) can be found here.

Continue reading

Practical Due Diligence on Distributors–it is possible!

If your company is thinking about expanding into the US market, chances are that you’ve considered a distribution arrangement (or something similar) with a US person or entity. You may even have been inundated with offers from ‘eager’ third parties to be your distributor, agent, etc. One frequent question is how can an Irish/NI company gather and analyze enough information about a third party to make a good decision about whether to engage with that person/company. Continue reading