Should I Confront My Employee?

Question: I just received a call asking for a verification of employment for one of my employees. I thought everything was good based on recent conversations, but now I’m not sure what is going on. Can I ask them if they are job hunting?

Answer: Legally, yes, you can ask since you learned about the job search through a legitimate source. However, you should not if you learn of it through an unreliable method such as the rumor mill, by searching an employee’s social media page, or by finding the employee’s resume on a job site.

The more important question is SHOULD you ask and if so, HOW.

If this is a valuable employee, then you may want to have a conversation explaining that you received the employment verification request and were wondering if they are searching for a new job. If they are, you can ask why and see if you can offer some reason for them to stay. You may not be able to meet their demands, but it could help ease the transition out when they do leave.

If you are not going to be sad to see the employee leave, perhaps you stay quiet and hope they get the job. Their resigning should alleviate your unemployment burden as well as a wrongful termination charge.

I would also think twice about asking certain employees, however. It may be best to not mention it to an employee who is angry or vindictive or who would burn the place down on their way out. Even if they are valuable, you may be making the situation worse for yourself. So instead of confronting them, you may want to bide your time and quietly start looking for their replacement.

Regardless of what action you take, make sure you are not taking adverse employment action against them as this could violate state law and get you in even more trouble.

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