I am currently working at company X, which has divisions that supply product to company Y. I am applying to work at Company Y and need to know the legality of contacting my current employer. Can Company Y contact my current employer? Company Y let me know they need to make sure that my current employer is ok with me leaving to work with them (dont want the appearance of poaching) is it legal for an offer to depend on my current companys willingness?
What are the laws here? I dont want negative backlash from my current employer finding out that I am job hunting, and have provided several other references (besides my current manager).
2 Answers from Attorneys
While you are free to work anywhere you wish, sometimes businesses have contracts with vendors preventing the vendor from hiring away the business' employees. There may be no way to know if there is such an agreement or even some hesitance on the part of the vendor to not do anything which may disrupt its business relationship, especially if they depend on your employer's business.
You need to be very careful. There is nothing to prevent someone from company Y from telling company X about your inquiry.
Does the term 'free speech' ring a bell? Both employers are free to discuss you as they please, other than illegal disclosure of personal confidential info such as medical problems. Good manners and discretion are not always present. Companies frequently have 'non raiding' policies, which other companies may or may not honor. Companies also may impose requirements that you provide a knowledgeable reference from current or past employers. If you can't get one, oh well.