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What does it exactly mean when company broadcasts x employee is no longer employed by XYZ company? Does it mean the employee is resigned or does it mean he got fired?

Note that I have recently got my first job and have never seen such a case. I recently got this news. The employee was one of my close friends at work and I feel sorry for him. I really do not know how to react to this news in front of my boss as well as my friend.

I even do not have his phone number to get in touch with him.

I found him on social media should I contact him?

Please advise!

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    Broadcast where? Internally or publicly? – Sourav Ghosh Dec 13 '19 at 6:40
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    You write, he was a close friend at work. Does that mean you did work at the same company but rarely met in person? He even did not tell you, when he left the company? Is said message broadcast publically via E-Mail? Is the thie auto reply message, when you send him a mail? Does everyone get this response from intern and extern? – Bernhard Döbler Dec 13 '19 at 12:48
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    Define "close friend" - they seem not to be bothered to say bye to you. Sure you can reach out on social media, don't expect too much – eckes Dec 15 '19 at 0:50
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    Police, or a security guard? – Laurence Payne Dec 15 '19 at 13:03

10 Answers 10

105

It means exactly what it says, anything more is speculation, especially when you consider the actual reason behind the departure and not simply its fact or mechanism.

Perhaps there are mutual friends among co-workers who could put you in touch if you ask quietly.

Or see if you can find them on something like Linkedin or another social network that seems applicable in your region / occupation.

re your edit:

I found him on social media should I contact him?

Sure, say something like "hey [name] really sorry to hear you're no longer with the company, maybe we can grab a drink sometime and catch up - also always happy to put in a good word for you" or whatever is appropriate in your culture.

But don't be offended if they don't reply, especially immediately - their thoughts may be in a place where they want nothing to do with the former situation. Or they might really welcome a chance to get together. Or they might say nothing or even "no thanks" now but get back in touch a few months down the road.

Remember it's about them, not about you.

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    Such a broadcast means more than it says: "The recipients are hereby notified that the named person is no longer an employee and that confidential business knowledge is to be kept out of reach of them. Should said person be found unaccompanied inside secured company premises, notify security and HR immediately." – Alexander Dec 13 '19 at 11:20
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    @Alexander, maybe so, but that doesn't (strongly) imply they were fired. They could have resigned to work for a rival, or it could be policy to be very careful about leaving employees regardless of individual circumstances. – Chris H Dec 13 '19 at 13:34
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    I really, really dislike the undertone of hey [name] really sorry to hear you're no longer with the company, maybe we can grab a drink sometime and catch up - also always happy to put in a good word for you. It presumes that something bad happened. It makes OP express condolences when they might not be needed. It presumes that the co-worker needs help. It makes the OP sound like their only interest is in digging up the gossip. It puts the co-worker in an awkward spot of declining an invite. If they never hung out outside of work before this situation then why start now? – MonkeyZeus Dec 13 '19 at 18:35
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    @MonkeyZeus Feel free to substitute other wording if you find yourself in this situation. The asker expressed an implicit desire to be back in touch with their now vanished colleague, if your issue is with doing that at all then that might be something you could make an argument for. There's also the simple no-message linkedin connection request, which can be interpreted in any way the recipient choses to view it. – Chris Stratton Dec 13 '19 at 18:56
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    I would advise rewording this because of something releated to the point @MonkeyZeus brought up. "I'm sorry" could mean that you are simply sorry you won't see him at work because you were friends and will miss them--but if it was a firing, especially a hush-hush thing, the ex-employee might be sensitive about it and interpret the "sorry" part to say "sorry they gave you the axe, man". How about "Hey [name] I will miss working with you" to be explicit about what you're feeling and avoid that possible negative interpretation? – msouth Dec 16 '19 at 7:22
33

What does it exactly mean when company broadcasts x employee is no longer is employed by XYZ company?

It means that x is no longer employed by XYZ and that the company doesn't want to (or cannot) tell you why.

Does it mean the employee is resigned or does it mean he got fired?

It could be either.

Usually, you will learn what really happened through the grapevine.

And if your close friend wants to contact you, they know the company phone number.

22

Given that this is your first job, you simply don't have any idea about what is normal and what is out of the ordinary.

In a small to medium sized company word would usually get around if the employee has a planned departure and there is no need to make a company-wide announcement. However, if their employment ceased without sufficient notice then it would be important to let everyone know that this person is no longer an employee and should be treated as such; meaning that if you all have cards for building access then you should not simply hold the door for them; they now need to be treated as a visitor.

Figuring out why their employment ceased without notice is the tricky part.

  • They may have been fired.
  • They may have resigned due to a tense disagreement with management.
  • They may have won the lottery and gave executive management the one-finger salute.
  • They may have landed a brand new job and decided not to provide a notice period (albeit stupid, but possible).
  • They may have given sufficient notice but decided to remain completely quiet about it so management felt that informing everyone was a necessity.
  • A family illness or tragedy may have left them with no other choice than to immediately resign.
  • They may have been abruptly taken away by the F.B.I. for crimes against the nation.
  • They may have decided to join a cult and the 9-to-5 shackles are hindering their fealty to the cult.

In a large corporation people leave without notice all the time and most of these situations go unannounced unless their departure affects you or your department.

If a C-level employee were to abruptly depart from the company then everyone would be made aware since their impact reaches far and wide.

If you wish to contact this person over social media then do NOT pigeonhole them by assuming the worst. Try something like the following:

Hi {name}, we received a company-wide communication that you are no longer working here, is this true? I'm just a bit shocked to see such a sudden departure as I really enjoyed working with you. I hope things are going okay.

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    I like the note phrasing here! – April --Un-Slander Monica-- Dec 13 '19 at 14:26
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    They could have been received a work offer from another company, and the condition were so good that they decided to quit with no notice. Or they had given notice but remained quiet about it. – Michele L'Intenditore Dec 13 '19 at 14:37
8

Odds are they were fired

Technically, it is speculation as to why they are no longer employed. But unless the company is always cagey, odds are they were fired (or told to resign immediately). People don’t give evasive answers unless they have something to hide.

“x employee is no longer is employed by XYZ company” is an evasive answer.

EDIT: I think you are all missing that this is a question by a co-worker/work friend of the "no longer employed". Sure, you might get the form response if you just randomly sent the person an email. If the person were removed from the situation, then sure it could reasonably be open-ended. But this guy appears to have abruptly disappeared and even within the company, people are giving evasive answers.

  • It is evading any legal issues. If they said anything directly, it could allow a lawsuit against them. Eg. GDPR, or its equivalent in the US (where the evasion practice seems to originate). – Juha Untinen Dec 13 '19 at 5:52
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    I'm not sure this is knowable with the information we have. At least at my company in the UK, "X is no longer employed by COM" is a very standard response. In a business setting, it's pretty common for someone to email someone that has quit, have their email forwarded to the person that took over the account, and for that to be the standard response. It's a very dry/formal response, but it's pretty standard response in my industry at least. – Karl Nicoll Dec 13 '19 at 11:36
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    Not necessarily. If the employee resigned over something that would cause others to consider resigning (or even if it would simply impact morale), then the same decision to remain vague about the end of employment can be made. – Flater Dec 13 '19 at 12:10
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    +1. This "no longer with...." wording is typical corporate doublespeak. It almost certainly means they were sacked. It also means the people who did the sacking don't want to talk about this situation (for legal or business reasons). Sometimes they say "left to pursue another opportunity..." which implies resignation rather than sacking. – O. Jones Dec 13 '19 at 16:54
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    In my experience, if someone voluntarily left the company, there will either be no notice or a "happy farewell" notice. This sounds more like a "don't let this person in the front door and don't talk to them about company matters anymore" notice. Yes, it could be a form letter, but to be sent out company wide, the person would have to be well known and likely upper management, rather than the seeming "line worker" of the person in question. – computercarguy Dec 13 '19 at 16:54
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The phrasing dodges the question

The literal phrasing is intentionally silent on whether they resigned, retired, fell ill, was laid off no-fault, or was fired for cause.

But context is king

So it matters why they are saying it. If they are responding to an auto dealer doing a credit check, that means nothing. Just that the company no longer gives the person a paycheck.

So for instance if Apple founder Steve Wozniak tweeted "Apple's security policy on phones is so-and-so", Apple might say this. Because Wozniak is Apple's most famous employee behind Jobs, but hasn't worked there for 30 years.

If the person was famously a current employee of the company, and involved in a public "tiff" with the company, then saying this is the company's way of saying that the person departed the company. We can't tell if the person rage-quit, were given a better offer by another company, or were fired.

Obviously if the person was fighting to keep the job, that means firing.

3

The phrasing sounds a bit dry, but if this was a public announcement in a public chat or mass email, it can just be a common practice. Where I work, it is normal for people to announce departures in the public chat, as well as announce new employees.

I wouldn't worry about it. If you really do consider the now ex-employee a friend, there's nothing wrong with trying to contact them. But if you meet, I'd be careful about asking why they left. If they want to tell you, they will likely do so on their own.

3

The true circumstances of the separation may never be fully disclosed, even to your friend. Even if they are known by your friend, it is possible that a confidentiality agreement as part of the separation may make it impossible to tell you.

Without speculation on the circumstances around the separation, organizations make these types of announcements when the employee in question had significant authority (ex. direct hiring/firing), legal agency (ex. able to negotiate and sign agreements on behalf of the organization or sue others on behalf of the organization), or the capacity to speak on behalf of the organization (i.e. authorized to talk to the press and make official statements and press releases).

This is a simple, mostly friendly way of letting others know that the person is no longer employed with the organization. Externally, this person is no longer authorized to make agreements on behalf of the organization or make speech/statements that are official on behalf of the organization. Internally it lets others know that this person should not have further access to organization resources or documents.

I'd expect the higher up the person was with the organization, the broader the communication would be, with some organizations making public press releases when key people with high level agency in the organization separate (or even before that when they announce their separation).

This prevents others from relying on a verbal agreement/signature with the person from assuming the agreement as being binding on the organization (and to let them know that they need to negotiate with someone else who has authority). Risk conscious organizations may even make these types of announcements for people with smaller signing authority (i.e. $5,000 or less).

As others have said, contacting via social media is a reasonable way to go, but depending on the circumstances they may not get back to you soon (may need a vacation, be looking for another position, or simply needs some separation from the previous organization and anyone tied with it).

If they do come back to the organization in some capacity, they may be a contractor, which would reinforce the need to make this type of announcement internally or externally to avoid confusion.

2

My employer sends out a notice that is just like that. It is intended to be neutral, neither congratulatory nor condemning: the named party is no longer an employee. It is sent for people that quit, people that retire, and people that are fired.

I can’t speak for either my company or yours, but I imagine that the intent is a combination of security and culture — to let people know that the person no longer have their prior access, and make their departure as unexceptional as possible.

Whether leaving for a job opportunity or because they have to be woken up at the end of the day to go home, the same message is sent. Only the manager and the employee knows for sure what is going on.

0

A common reason for this is as part of a security policy, to ensure that all employees know that this person is no longer employed so that they don't (for example) help them out when they phone up trying to "work from home" or whatever. It doesn't necessarily mean the company thinks this ex-employee will do anything malicious; it covers the company just in case they do, or in case malicious third parties try to impersonate them. Recently-fired employees make great fake identities - others may not know they've left yet, but the real person isn't around to blow your cover.

If this is the case, then this may be a standard message that is sent whenever an employee leaves the company. It might be sent for every leaver, or only those in a certain role or with certain kinds of access, but either way, it would be part of a standard procedure, and therefore it makes sense to have a standard and vague message so that it fits any scenario. Having different messages for different cases would require someone to come up with those messages each time, and risks giving away information about what happened if someone were to correlate the different messages.

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It is your first (job) ? the first time, everybody seems sensitive. Just relax. He is not dead. Only loose a pay check. Drop it and focus on yourself and your career.

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