June 19, 2013
June 12, 2013
Stephanie Hanes: Little girls or little women? The Disney princess effect
Fred Weir: In tweak to US, Russia would 'consider' asylum for Snowden
June 10, 2013
The Kosher Gourmet by Anjali Prasertong: A tart filling so good it might not make it to the crust
June 5, 2013
John Rosemond: Mom, Dad: Talk More and listen less
Egypt court sentences 43 pro-democracy workers to prison
June 3, 2013
Molly Hennessy-Fiske: Military judge to consider letting Fort Hood shooting defendant represent himself
May 29, 2013
Andrew Connelly and Helene Bienvenu: The Little Synagogue that Refused to Die
May 24, 2013
Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb: When I didn't so 'humbly disagree'
May 22, 2013
They launched the 'Arab Spring' but now yearn for the good old days of a strongman
May 20, 2013
Richard A. Serrano: Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
Jewish World Review
July 16, 2008
/13 Tamuz 5768
Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir
Q: My firm would have trouble filling an open position with a simple ad asking for CV's. But we know an existing worker at another firm who is suitable. Can we try to lure him away?
A: Jewish law has a healthy respect for existing business relationships and negotiations, and educates us to be reluctant to disrupt them. The Talmud tells the following story:
Rav Gidel was bargaining on a certain property, when Rebbe Abba came along and bought it. Rav Gidel went and complained to Rebbe Zeira; Rebbe Zeira went and complained to Rav Yitzchak Nafcha. He said, wait until he comes to visit in the holiday. When he came, he found him and said, A poor person who is bargaining for a loaf of bread and someone else comes and takes it from him, what is the rule? He said, he is considered wicked. Then why did you do this? He said, I did not know [that Rav Gidel had already begun negotiations]. (1)
However, many commentaries limit this restriction to the case where the "poaching" is gratuitous or nearly so. They assume that Rebbe Abba could easily have found another property that suited his needs; in that case, it would have been unethical for him to undo all of Rav Gidel's concern and negotiation and make him start all over looking for a field. Rav Gidel is thus likened to someone "poor", who will suffer a loss if he has to look elsewhere, and Rebbe Abba to someone rich, who has many opportunities. If however Rebbe Abba had a special reason to want specifically this field, then it would have been proper. (2)
The same commentators also extend the analogy to the labor market. They state that a worker shouldn't try to offer himself to an employer who is already satisfied with his current employee. The assumption is that the unemployed worker has many work opportunities and that he shouldn't pick on the currently employed worker who is already invested in his current place of work. But it is permissible for an employer to hire away a worker from some other employer; again, the assumption is that good workers are hard to find. But these are only examples. If the facts were opposite - jobs hard to find and workers easy to find - the ruling would be opposite.
So given your statement that you would have difficulty finding a good worker through regular channels, it would be perfectly OK for you to offer a job to a person currently employed elsewhere. It is also OK to hire such a person if you solicit CV's and he sends one; then he has judged that it is in his interest to change positions.
However, in many lines of work there are unwritten agreements among firms not to poach. There is a kind of "golden rule" at work where firms agree that everyone would be better off avoiding a disruptive game of musical chairs. If this is the custom in your industry I would think twice before rocking the boat; your decision could come back to haunt you.
Another ethical issue to consider is the way of approaching this individual. It would be improper to approach or contact him at work, or through work channels (e.g., his work phone or e-mail). This would be adding insult to the injury suffered by his current employer. And it goes without saying that you shouldn't take advantage of any private information the worker obtained in his current workplace.
SOURCES: (1) Babylonian Talmud, Kiddushin 59a (2) Tosafos commentary, there
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes inspiring articles. Sign up for our daily update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir, formerly of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Reagan
administration, is Research Director of the Business Ethics Center of Jerusalem, Jerusalem College of Technology.
To comment or pose a question, please click here.
THE JEWISH ETHICIST, NOW IN BOOK FORM
You've enjoyed his columns on JWR for years. Now the Jewish Ethicist has culled his most intriguing and controversial offerings in book form.
Sales help fund JWR.
© 2008, The Jewish Ethicist is produced by the JCT Center for Business Ethics