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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50161
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I started a small laser clinic business 18 months ago. My

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I started a small laser clinic business 18 months ago. My husband and I put up all the money and have all the liability on the building and the expensive machines we have. Another girl has been with me since the beginning and has been a paid employee from the beginning with me not being paid at all at the beginning. She has done nothing practically to look after the clinic but seems to think she is entitled to a large number of shares. She has conceded she can't have 50 % but still thinks she is entitled to 30% as she had a few ideas at the beginning. Many of my friends who have or had businesses say I should just keep her as an employee. She tells many of the clients she is a party.
What do you advise?

What would you like to know?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I am having a meeting with her this evening and she wants to know her status in the company. I think she basically wants a title but I gather its not usual just to give people a share of a company.
She hasn't been that reliable over the time with lots of personal problems but they shouldn't be affecting the business.
She also feels threatened because I am proposing to take on another nurse on a very part time basis who will be able to help out with holidays.
She emailed me when I was on holiday to say it was too much for her on her not a get up and go person who has shown she has good managerial skills.
I would like to know what to say to her with the professional backing of someone like yourself.
Hello, my colleague has asked me to assist with your query as it is more my area of law. Was there any agreement at the beginning, or at any time thereafter that she was to have a share in the ownership of the company?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Nothing in writing . The official plan was that it would be a joint venture but then it turned out she had nothing to put into the business ,not even free time, and the bank wouldn't look at her once they saw her credentials. So the money and the risk is all mine . So she had to concede to this and the business is registered in my name.
But now some time has passed she thinks I will hand her shares . And I am prepared to give her some but not half. And I was wondering what an expert thinks.
She cannot expect half (or even any) shares unless there was actually an agreement to that effect in place. Whilst the initial plan was for this to be a joint venture, if the conditions surrounding that were not satisfied *for example she did not meet her part of the bargain to start with) then this whole plan would have been superseded by whatever happened next. In this case, that would be a situation where she simply continued to work for the company as an employee. That would not have given her the right to expect any share of the company and she would only be entitled to expect the general employment rights she gets under law, together with any specific rights contained in her contract, if one exists.

In general her rights as an employee with her length of service would be protection against unfair dismissal so you cannot just go ahead and remove her from her job without having a fair reason for doing so and also follow a fair procedure.

If you wish to give her any shares in the company then that is up to you but you have the upper hand in this situation and she cannot hold you to ransom when demanding her proportion in the shares.

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Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50161
Experience: Qualified Solicitor
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for that .it really clarifies what I thought.
I don't really intend to get rid of her and I think I am being quite generous.
One thing she keeps insisting that it was her idea. It wasn't really because I wouldn't have set up the business just because I was told to.and we'd both been doing the same thing if or years before.
Do ideas count for anything in business terms...regarding financial reward?
Ideas can count when it comes to copyright and other original material but not in this instance, this will not fall within the areas where ideas would be protected