When you find yourself in a situation where you are probably tired of your current job, or you just started your current job and find out the job isn’t as good as you thought, then you begin to look for another job even while you are employed. Although it is not illegal to search for a job while your employment contract is active, employers may fire the employee if they discover this. Let us see can you fire an Employee for looking for another job.
Can You Fire An Employee For Looking For Another Job?
Yes, employment contract of an employee can be terminated i.e firm can fire a person for looking for another job. An employee might be compelled to search for another job due to reasons like being underpaid, distance from work to their home, or being unappreciated.
Can an employee’s contract be terminated for looking for another job?
As earlier stated, it is not illegal for an employee to seek employment elsewhere while they’re currently working in an organization; however, employers can only fire their employees depending on various situations.Since most employees in the United States are at-will employees, employers have a right to fire them for any reason. Most employers rarely fire an employee for job hunting, except in rare cases. It is mostly for other reasons that are intertwined.
Situations where an employer can legally fire an employee for looking for another job
There are various situations under which an employer can legally fire an employee for looking for another job. Pinpointed below are some of the situations.
- When an employee is caught applying for a job with office equipment or resources like a computer, printer, and others, they can be fired without any punishment attached to the act of the employer.
- Where an employee is always late to work than usual or where an employee leaves work earlier than usual.
- Where an employee is attending other interviews from the office during work hours, thereby slowing down their work process or interfering with your work, they could be terminated.
- Speaking to colleagues about job hunting and posting their resumes on the job board could also terminate an employee.
On what grounds can an employer be sued for firing an employee due to Job Hunting
There are various grounds on which an employer can be sued for terminating an employee due to job hunting.
- One very important ground is where the employee contract, which was terminated for looking for another job, is discriminatory. Where an employee was fired due to discriminatory reasons, it could amount to wrongful termination. Discriminatory reasons can be due to their color, national origin, race, gender identity, disability, or even religion.
- When an employee protected by an employment agreement is fired, it also amounts to wrongful termination. Such employees need to hire the services of a lawyer so they can look into the terms of the contract. Where the terms of the contract protect such employees from being fired for looking for a new job, action can be brought against the employer.
- It also amounts to a wrongful termination where the employee that was fired is protected by a union agreement like EEOC – equal employment opportunity commission.
- An employer can be sued when they terminate an employee’s employment contract for refusing to partake in an illegal act.
Steps to take to avoid termination of employment upon a job search
Where you are caught by your employer searching for another job, there are various steps to take that can prevent you from getting fired.
- Do not hide information from your employer. It is only appropriate and right for an employee searching for another job to inform the employer. The employer will know, after all.
- Give the employer insight into why you are searching for another job. If it is due to distance or you want a more stable position, explain to your employer and make them see reasons with you, this way you can remain in their good book. This will also give the employer the ability to prepare.
- When explaining why you’re leaving a job, avoid using language like “I’m leaving because I’m not appreciated enough.”
- Despite seeking employment elsewhere, ensure that your current job does not suffer. No employer will allow an employee who is not carrying out their task well to remain in the organization.
- Ensure that your interviews are scheduled after work hours during break or on off days.
- Ensure that you do not violate any agreement terms concerning confidentiality as an employee searching for a job.
Entitlements available to an employee who was fired for looking for a job
Most at-will employment gives either an employee or employer the advantage of terminating the contract for whatsoever reason without prior notice. An employee has a right to certain benefits if they are fired for looking for another job. These benefits aren’t available when the employees leave of their own free will.
It is good for an employee who is searching for another job to be discreet about it from the start until they’re ready to give notice of the job. An employee can be fired for searching for another job while their present employment contract is still active, and at the same time, they may not be fired for searching for another job.
Frequently asked questions
Can an employee plainly tell an employer that they’re searching for another job?
Answer: Although honesty is important, such employees must inform their boss carefully.
What action can an employee who is terminated for discriminatory reasons take?
Answer: An employee whose employment contract is terminated due to discriminatory reasons, can hire the service of a lawyer and take the employer to court.
Is it advisable to tell people about my job hunting or keep it discreet?
Answer: It is advisable to be cautious until it is right to inform the employer about job hunting.