If the employment contract of our maintenance person expired and they were offered another one a week ago which they didn’t sign but are still in possession of, what are our liabilities/obligations for them?

As of today, the individual went to work like business as usual. He is a 14 year employee and we are worried about our liabilities/obligations regarding his work and benefits.

Asked on September 1, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If he is an employee, there is no need for an employment contract--most employees don't have them. If you want a contract, then you can tell him to sign immediately or within whatever time frame you deem appropriate or be fired--he has no right to not sign if he employer wishes him to. In the meantime, if there is no contract with him, your only obligation to is to pay him, including providing the benefits you have been providing until and unless you provide him notice that they are changing, for any work he actually does and since he is your employee, you are liable for his non-criminal actions e.g. his negligence done in the course of employment.
Note that even if you have previously treated him like an independent contractor or "1099 employee," if he is subject to your direction as to how and when to do his job e.g. his hours you can manage how and what he does to any degree you choose, then he IS an employee in the eyes of the law, not a contractor.

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