Can I confront an employee about interviewing for another job?
You are free to ask an employee about their future plans, but generally they don’t have to tell you about their job applications. You should certainly avoid any suggestion that you’re using harassment or bullying to try to remove an employee’s legitimate right to quit.
You could place restrictive covenants on their terms of employment. These could state, for example, that they’re not allowed to work for a rival firm within six months of quitting. In this case, you’d be justified in asking them about their interview, if it’s with one of your competitors. However, to be legally enforceable such covenants must be reasonable, and genuinely intended to protect your own legitimate business interests.
Can I get an employee to quit?
No. This would be unlawful and would normally constitute constructive unfair dismissal.
If you want an employee to leave, they must follow the correct procedures. If it’s due to productivity or conduct, you should raise a disciplinary case against the staff member, giving them a reasonable chance to correct their behaviour. Alternatively, if it’s a cost-saving measure, you need to follow redundancy procedures, which involve consultation and a possible payout or redeployment.
If you feel an employee feels they have no option but to quit, they can seek professional advice. If your company has a grievance procedure this will be their first route of complaint, followed by applying to an employment tribunal.