I have a strange situation that I need some advice on.

I work for a small marketing agency as a senior web developer. Last week a junior developer in my team resigned. He was still in his probation period so only had to give 7 days notice, he appeared to be leaving us amicably.

This is where things start to go a bit weird.

He was fine and well on Friday afternoon when we left the office and he was excited to be involved in the live deployment of a website he'd been working on for the coming Tuesday.

On Monday morning he emailed myself and my line manager informing us that he would be a bit late that morning as some trains were cancelled and others were running late. By lunchtime he still hadn't appeared and the train company website indicated that the earlier problems had been resolved.

We tried calling him to check on his progress and a revised ETA. There was no answer on his phone and it kept ringing out. We have also tried texting him and sending him messages on WhatsApp but have received no response. The WhatsApp messages are listed has having been delivered but not read.

He didn't re-emerge on Tuesday morning which prompted us to call his emergency contact number, which went to voicemail after a long period of ringing. He still hasn't shown up today and there is still no response on his or other updates on his social media accounts.

Now I realize that he could have just decided he didn't want to work his notice and is ignoring us but there is a small chance that he may have had an accident or something while on route to the office. Basically we are just worried about his well-being and want to know that he is OK.

As an employer what is the most appropriate way to handle a missing employee?

  • 9
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because because it is really a question about a missing person, not about navigating the workplace.
    – David K
    May 16, 2018 at 15:09
  • Would it be inappropriate to check his home address? Just in case something really bad has happened?
    – user34587
    May 16, 2018 at 15:15
  • 11
    @DavidK What obligations, if any, an employer has if an employee seems to have gone missing isn't a workplace question?
    – BSMP
    May 16, 2018 at 15:18
  • 1
    The edit changed the frame of the question to being purely legal, which is off topic per Workplace SE's definitions. Voting against the reopen flag.
    – dwizum
    May 16, 2018 at 16:35
  • 1
    Even if this was not closed as off topic, I would be inclined to close it as a duplicate of workplace.stackexchange.com/q/111044/50529 since that question covers this.
    – Anketam
    May 16, 2018 at 19:32

1 Answer 1


You can try checking online presence, if you know any of his usernames/handles. If he posted on e.g. Facebook, reddit, Stack Overflow, etc. then he is probably simply ignoring you. Some platforms (such as Stack Overflow) also list a "last seen at" date on the profile.

Other than that, the best course of action is to try the emergency contact again, and if that fails inform the police.

The exact response will vary on locality; we had a similar situation a few years ago (in the Netherlands) and the police entered the coworker's apartment with the landlord's key. They didn't find him, but did report that there are "signs that he is not in any danger". They didn't give us more information out of privacy concerns.

there is a small chance that he may have had an accident or something while on route to the office. Basically we are just worried about his well-being and want to know that he is OK.

If that happened then, presumably, some bystanders called an ambulance and he is being taken care of. The risk is that something happened at his home and that no one has noticed yet.

  • 10
    If the ex-staffer in question is actually on SO, maybe we will soon see a "I went dark after quitting, and now my prior employer is stalking me, what do I do?" question...
    – dwizum
    May 16, 2018 at 20:18

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