HR Support on Employee Exit Interviews

Editor's Note: Use exit interviews as a tool to evaluate business practices and identify risk.

Michael JacobsonOverview: Whether the result of an employee termination or a resignation, when an employee leaves, HR should gather information regarding that employee's experience, including the reason for the resignation or contributing facts and circumstances that lead to a termination to further or improve the employer's business practices.

In the course of conducting an exit interview, however, HR should consider various exigencies. If the employee has resigned, it is imperative to find out as much about the resignation as possible, to identify post-termination risk from constructive discharge claims. Further, HR should be aware of any particular employee knowledge or access to information which can later be used against the employer. In those cases, HR must work closely with in-house or external counsel in securing a non-compete agreement or restrictive covenant to protect the employer's interests.

If the employee has been terminated, the employer may still benefit from an exit interview if HR is successful in convincing the employee to participate. Since terminated employees are more likely to make post-termination complaints, the exit interview process can be a useful tool in addressing employee concerns or determining whether to negotiate termination agreements. Finally, the exit interview process can be an opportune time to address the employee's post-termination concerns regarding benefits to ensure a smoother transition into the next phase of the employee's life.

Trends: Restrictive covenants or non-compete agreements are a valuable tool for the employer to protect its interests after an employee leaves the organization. Most states evaluate the enforceability these agreements on a case-by-case basis, analyzing the time, distance and substance restrictions in each agreement and determining if the restrictions on ex-employee movement are reasonable when compared to the employer's business interests. To the extent HR has a role in helping to craft these agreements, the employer should not overestimate its need for such a restriction, nor should it impose strict rules on an ex-employee.

Author: Michael Jacobson, JD, Legal Editor

Latest items in Exit Interviews

  • Voluntary Terminations: Federal

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    Updated to include information on a Supreme Court decision that addresses the statute of limitations for filing claims of discrimination resulting in constructive discharge.

  • Prepare a Severance or Termination Agreement - Checklist

    Type:
    Policies and Documents

    A severance or termination agreement is a great way to make a mostly clean break with outgoing employees. This checklist will help an employer identify all the important points to address during the negotiation and drafting of severance or termination agreements, and will also identify some common pain points and pitfalls of poorly drafted or unfair agreements.

  • Exit Interviews Handbook Statement: California

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    California employers seeking to advise employees of the company's exit process should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Employee Termination - Supervisor Briefing

    Type:
    Supervisor Training

    This briefing for supervisors provides a protocol and best practices for employee termination, from the disciplinary process through to the post-termination period.

  • Process of Termination: Federal

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    This section helps HR professionals understand and comply with the federal requirements pertaining to the process of an employee termination. Guidance and best practices for the termination process are also addressed.

  • Exit Interviews Handbook Statement

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Employers seeking to advise employees of the company's exit process should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Severance Agreement Form

    Type:
    Policies and Documents

    An employer may use this form to build or reach a severance or "termination" agreement with an outgoing employee when the employer is either contractually bound to provide severance or it determines that providing severance is in its best interests. Common scenarios in which employers elect to provide severance are when they desire a (mostly) clean break with an outgoing employee, they desire to maintain good relations with the outgoing employee or when the employer desires some protection from the outgoing employee against risks associated with litigation, competition or security.

  • How to Prepare a Severance or Termination Agreement

    Type:
    How To

    A severance or termination agreement is a very effective tool for an employer to use to make a mostly clean break with outgoing employees. However, there are important restrictions on the type of consideration employers can ask for as part of severance or termination agreements. This How to will help employers walk through the process of negotiating and drafting such an agreement and can be useful in protecting the company and ensuring the agreement is enforceable in a court of law.

  • Process of Termination: Connecticut

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Connecticut employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to process of termination.

  • Date:
    June 25, 2013
    Type:
    Legal Timetable

About This Topic

HR guidance on the process of conducting exit interviews and considerations in preparing for the interview while being mindful of the employer's post-termination interests.