Workplace policies protect human resources employment decisions. They're also helpful for a changing of the guard when a new HR regime comes in or another HR leader takes the helm. When organizational change like this occurs, it's essential to consider the possibility that former employees -- of which the new HR regime might not have firsthand knowledge -- may want to return to the company. Therefore, an essential workplace policy is one that addresses rehiring former employees. Some organizations are lenient about the employees they're willing to bring back to work. Other employers have strict policies about the conditions under which former employees can return.
Employees who are involuntarily terminated for attendance generally are eligible to reapply for employment after 90 days. Personal issues may have prevented the employee from maintaining an acceptable attendance record; therefore, if the former employee has proof that she resolved issues that caused poor attendance, the company may consider rehiring her. Rehire eligibility for former employees terminated for poor performance is determined on a case-by-case basis. They may reapply to the company. But the recruiter and hiring manager must review the employee's personnel records to determine if the termination was attributed to inadequate job skills, experience or expertise that could have been resolved in the time between termination and consideration for rehire.
Former employees whose termination reasons involved policy violations, such as workplace violence, insubordination, discriminatory or harassing behavior, theft or embezzlement and any ethics violations, are not eligible for rehire. If the company receives employment verification requests from prospective employers, the company will not release details about the employee's termination -- only that she is not eligible for rehire.
Provided the former employee resigned on good terms with the organization, had acceptable performance ratings during her employment and there is a position for which she is still qualified, she is welcome to reapply. Depending on her past performance record, she may be given consideration above other external candidates who aren't familiar with the organizational processes, culture and structure. But this is also dependent on a case-by-case analysis of the circumstances of her departure and the company's staffing needs.
If a former employee was subject to a reduction-in-force decision, layoff or job elimination that resulted in the employee's departure by no fault of her own, she can reapply for her previous position or a new one. Similar to the rehire policy for resignation on good terms, the employee may have an advantage over external candidates who are less experienced or less knowledgeable about the organization and its practices and culture.
Prior Service Credit
In some cases, former employees who return to work may be eligible for credit for prior service, including seniority. If the rehired employee's previous service was longer than the equivalent of one year of full-time work and the time during which the employee was not employed by the company doesn't exceed the length of prior service -- up to a three-year break in service -- the employee is entitled to reinstatement that reflects seniority with no break in service. For example, if the employee's previous service was five years and she is rehired after a break of two years, she returns to the company with service credit of five years. On the other hand, if she was previously employed for five years and her break in service was six years, she may not be eligible for return to work with five years of creditable service.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.