Employer best practices: Employee exit interviews and acknowledgements of confidentiality and other post-employment restrictions

by Christopher Graham and Joseph Kelly

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Many people don’t like confrontation. Perhaps that’s why employers don’t conduct exit interviews with departing employees. But if an employee is subject to non-competition, non-solicitation, or confidentiality agreement restrictions, an exit interview is a way to assure compliance and identify potential problems. And an exit interview done right shouldn’t be confrontational. During an exit interview, the employer should ask the employee to sign an acknowledgment of obligations under any agreement or agreements, which should be attached to the acknowledgment. The employer also should ask the employee about the identity of the next employer. A sign of trouble may be an employee’s refusal to sign the acknowledgment or disclose the new employer. If there’s no exit interview, the employer has less chance of discovering or heading off a violation. The employer may be unable to learn that the employee is working for an industry competitor until long after the employee leaves and damage already has been done. So if your an employer, think about making exit interviews and acknowledgements part of your routine business practice.

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