Hello,
Our company provides a installation service for home. we usually subcontract the installer to do the actual work. we were in need of a new installer so we put up a ad on Craigslist hoping to find the right installer. sure enough the right guy came responded to our ad. problem is that he also does work for our local competition (frum people). we really would like to partner with this new installer but that would require him to give up working for our competitor. this new installer really wants to work for us since we are offering him more work than the competition. we are not trying to deliberately take him away from the competition, we are only looking to hire the right guy for our job. is this ethical and permitted? does it go into the category of “ani hamehapech becharara”?
Thanks very much

Answer

One may not poach an employee from a competitor. However, if the employee comes of his own accord to you, you may employ him.

Placing an advert for employees on the internet is not considered as approaching the employee, and therefore if he responds to the advert you may negotiate with him.

However, there is another issue here. The employee might have a contract to work for his original employer, and as such it would be inappropriate for you to aid him in reneging on this commitment. Therefore, you are advised to first establish if he has any commitment to the first employer, and if not, there would be no problem in employing him. (Depending on the circumstances, the employee might have a Halachic right to resign from his first employment – po’el yachol lachzor bachatzi hayom – the parameters of this, however, are beyond the scope of this short answer. Try to establish the conditions of employment with the first employer, and then you may follow up on your original query.)

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