Can You Terminate an Employee for Job Hunting?
You may already be familiar with the usual reasons for terminating an employee, such as poor performance or a breach of company policy. But can an employee be fired for job hunting?
What is Job Hunting?
Job hunting is the process of looking for a new job while still being employed at your current job. It usually involves researching the job market and reading job postings, holding informational interviews, or submitting resumes and cover letters.
Is It Legal to Fire Someone for Looking for a New Job?
In most cases, yes. Most employees are hired on an “at-will” basis, which means the employer can end the employment relationship at any time, for any reason. This means that there is generally no law that prevents an employer from terminating an employee who is looking for a new job.
Even though an employer is not breaking any federal law by terminating an employee for job hunting, there may be other responsibilities to consider. For example, some employers have an employee handbook or other written policies that outline the termination process. These policies should be followed before taking any action that could be considered wrongful termination.
Additional Factors to Consider
Before you terminate an employee for job hunting, you should also consider:
- Timing: Is the employee job hunting during work hours, using company resources?
- Conflicting Interests: Is job searching interfering with job duties?
- Performance: Is job hunting a symptom of poor job performance?
Ultimately, it is up to the employer to decide if and when to terminate an employee for job hunting. To avoid any legal or HR issues, it is important to document any conversations with an employee and communicate in a way that is consistent with your organization’s policies.