It all depends on the degree of risk you are willing to accept.
Can you find an online employment contract that you can tweak? Absolutely. Will it hold up in any of the dozens of disputs that might arise--who knows. Would you have recourse against the place you downloaded the form from in the event you lose your business in a lawsuit--probably not.
Smart money says you find a business attorney in your locale and establish a working relationship, a payment plan that meets your company needs, and get youself started off properly. Best of luck to you.
NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter.
Employment contracts can subject you to a lot of liability as a business owner. The way the contract is worded can affect the way you pay taxes, the way the employee is paid, the benefits that you may have to offer, your insurance rates for business insurance and health insurance (included under the new system of Affordable Care Act). It can also affect your workers compensation and unemployment compensation payments. Can you find somewhere online? Probably. You most certainly should not. It is better to do this right the first time than risk losing your business once it is more successful and you have more to lose. You should discuss this with your attorney. If your attorney is charging to much then you should shop around. It should depend on whether you trust your attorney to do a good job. I have prepared employment contracts for businesses that I represent. Depending on the complexity and time frame you would be looking at somewhere between $500-$1000 for a simple employment contract. Also if these are not actual employees and are subcontractors make sure the contract is very clear. Good luck.
Attorney Chris Beck
Beck Law Office, L.L.C.
The responses of Attorney Chris Beck to any questions posed on Avvo do NOT establish an Attorney-client relationship. Attorney Beck is available for private hire and consultation for a fee. Only after Attorney Beck is retained as counsel, or agrees to discuss this matter with you privately, shall he be legally deemed to be your Attorney. His responses herein are an attempt to assist persons temporarily based upon the very extremely limited amount of information provided by the questioner
I have to agree with Mr. Beck and Mr. Rafter. There are too many individualized considerations that may not be and probably are not covered by a simple template. The drafter of the template probably hasn't accounted for every situation that may affect your business. For example, what if your artists and designers are actually considered independent contractors and your contract does not have a work-for-hire provision? Your company may not even own the work those workers create and could be subject to thousands of dollars in copyright infringement liability. Also, do you want your employees to be at-will or subject to a contract of a specific term of employment? An attorney will help you identify these situations and account for them in the contract.
The money you spend on this contract is analogous to buying insurance. A relatively small amount of money now could save you thousands of dollars in the future. It will also give you a piece of mind and help you avoid unnecessary headaches. When you hire an attorney you're paying for a service, not simply a document you can download off the internet.
Below I've attached a link to a site I contribute to that covers a variety of legal topics related to startups and existing businesses. It also lists the prices for various services. I hope it can help explain any further questions you may have. Good luck!
Cornetet, Meyer, Rush & Kirzner, Co., L.P.A.
Cincinnati, OH 45246
No attorney-client relationship implied or accepted without a signed fee agreement. This response is theoretical only and for purposes of discussion. Attorney is not liable for any opinion expressed herein. Attorney is licensed in Ohio only.
I completely agree with all other answers. It would be best, to ensure you are not subjected to liability, to have an attorney create it for you. At the very least, you should have an attorney look over and edit what you have drafted. The amount of money it will cost you to pay an attorney to look at this will greatly outweigh your piece of mind knowing you are protected should anything happen with these employees.
Employment law for businesses LLC (limited liability company) Business contracts Business insurance Intellectual property Copyrights Business Employment Employment law and finances Workers' compensation Unemployment compensation Employment forms Employment contracts Copyright infringement Startups Employee contract for businesses Starting an LLC