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In difficult HR quandary, where should my loyalties lie?

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in The HR Specialist Forum

"I'm the HR Director for our company. A good friend and co-worker has informed me in confidence that she is planning on resigning pending a job offer she says she'll likely receive. I like my job, I like my boss and don't want to keep this information from him. Where should my loyalty lie? With my friend? With the company?" — C in CA


It's not a matter of loyalty. Your friend told you something in confidence. It is not the type of information that MUST be shared (such as a revelation of harassment that would require an investigation). There is no real harm to the organization in not sharing this information. (I assume she would provide 2 weeks notice like most employees.) I think you should hold this information in confidence.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

GHughes October 29, 2008 at 2:47 pm

Did she come to your office for a sit down and tell you, or did this take place over lunch, etc? I get the impression she was telling you as a friend – and you said yourself it was in confidence. Confidence that you would keep it to yourself? If she wanted your boss to know she could have told him. I would think long and hard before I dilvulged something like that to my boss, just because “I like my job, like my boss”. It wouldn’t take long for the word to get around the office not to tell you anything because you would run and tell your boss. I wouldn’t jeopardize my friendship for something that was told to me in confidence and in the long run her changing jobs is not going to harm the company. People change jobs everyday. Think of the position you would put your friend in if you told your boss and she did not get the job. It could make for a very difficult working relationship all around.


ASmith October 28, 2008 at 5:35 pm

She has not disclosed any illegal or even unethical behavior, just something that should be kept confidential from HR at this point. It would be easier not to make friends at work that are close enough to exchange confidences with and/or to work with friends, but it’s too late for that.

Would your friend feed your dog if you were out of town? Would your job come over and do the same?


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