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I recently accepted a new job offer and handed my resignation to my current employer. However they are very insistent on knowing where I'm going to work. Is this a normal thing? I know that my manager trash talked me to another potential employer so I don't feel comfortable telling her where I'm going to be working.

I live in Puerto Rico (a territory of the USA.)

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Unless there's something in your contract or local laws, you're not obligated to say anything about where you're going. A simple "I hereby tender my resignation, my last day will be X, it's been a pleasure and I wish you all the best" is sufficient.

In this age of LinkedIn and Facebook, people will figure it out eventually. It's normal for them to be curious about where you're going, but it's also not abnormal for you to keep it to yourself.

I know that she trash talked me to another potential employer so I don't feel comfortable telling her where I'm going to be working.

If that other "potential employer" didn't see this as more informative about your current employer than you personally, you're probably best off not getting a job from them.

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    Re: "If that other 'potential employer' didn't see this as more informative about your current employer than you personally, you're probably best off not getting a job from them": Maybe so, but I'd still rather that a potential employer not get trash-talked to about me. I think the OP is wise to want to avoid that. – ruakh May 24 '16 at 21:21
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Depends who is asking.

If it is your manager, I don't believe you have any obligation to tell her. Given that it sounds like you don't have great relationship with your manager, I don't think I would share the information.

If it is HR department, there are two reasons why it might be valuable/necessary to inform.

  • A good HR department will review where people move on to in order to help understand why people are leaving and how they might make this company a more desirable place to work. If you don't hate the company, why not share to help those who come after you.
  • If there is any kind of non-compete clause or similar restriction in your contract, you are probably obligated to tell so that they can confirm compliance.
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    It's unlikely than a non-compete obligates you to tell where you're going or that such a provision would be enforceable if it did exist, though this will, of course, vary by jurisdiction. Even the whole concept of a non-compete is unenforceable in many jurisdictions. – reirab May 24 '16 at 20:37
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    @reirab, Non-competes have been enforceable within limits. We can set aside the debate as to whether they should be. in those cases where they are, I'm pretty sure the employer is not required to just take your word for it. They get to verify compliance with the contract. – cdkMoose May 24 '16 at 20:40
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    Unless there's some court order to the contrary, you normally don't have to tell them anything in most jurisdictions. Producing evidence of a violation would normally be up to the them. – reirab May 24 '16 at 20:44
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    The last sentence in your answer turns your entire answer to just saying you don't know. – user42272 May 24 '16 at 21:00
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    @reirab is correct. Unless the non-compete clause explicitly requires the disclosure, then you're not obliged to disclose. It's not your responsibility to enforce (or to assist in enforcing) your previous employer's non-compete agreement for them. So it's not "any kind" of non-compete that requires disclosure. It's only a very particular kind that does that (which I've never personally encountered in practice). – aroth May 25 '16 at 4:16
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Do not tell her. Absolutely, do not tell her!

I know that she trash talked me to another potential employer so I don't feel comfortable telling her where I'm going to be working.

This is precisely the reason you should not tell her. What she did was not only immoral, but also completely illegal.

Not only you should not tell her, but you should be prepared for this person to harass your former colleagues and lie to your family and friends about needing to reach you in an emergency to get at this information. So if I were you, I wouldn't tell anyone else where you're going, so as not to put them in that situation.

You don't have to explain or justify yourself to her (or even to others in that company). And if she demands that you go to an exit interview, or sign a piece of paper, know that you don't have to do any of that. Don't feel pressured into doing anything during this notice period. And if the pressure feels bad at any point, forget the notice period and walk away.

Furthermore, if you feel this situation could still escalate, know that you could hire a lawyer to put them on notice to never badmouth you again. A good lawyer would even hire an impartial third party reference checking service to see how bad the badmouthing is.

  • I know a manager who once let a contractor go, then called up a bunch of temp agencies and bad-mouthed that contractor, claiming she was "a thief and a liar". The contractor sued her for all the lost wages she could have earned in her career with those temp agencies, and that manager got assessed $2500 per month for 20 years, with her two houses attached as collateral. That was 1998 or 1999. She is still paying!!! When someone badmouths you publicly, you can sue them for slander (if verbal) or libel (if written). – CodeSeeker May 25 '16 at 17:23
  • Yes, I remember a similar case where an employee had the misfortune of buying an identical phone to the one her company had. She was fired, mishandled, humiliated, her picture was posted on every floor of the company with the assertion that she was a thief, all because the person running HR didn't believe it could be her phone and couldn't wait 24 hours for the employee to come back with the documents that would prove her innocence. The defamed former employee also ended up winning big in court. Unfortunately, not all defamation lawsuits are this clearcut. – Stephan Branczyk May 25 '16 at 20:01
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After reading the comments, here is my answer.

Yes it is normal, but it normal for one of two reasons.

  1. You got along great with everyone and they want to keep in touch
  2. They want to cause trouble.

This sounds like #2.

You owe them NOTHING. Do not give them the information, do not update social media, do not let ANYONE from the old company know where you are going until you've established yourself as a solid employee.

It's clear from what you posted, that the manager is looking to cause trouble. She's already trash talked you to other places and there is no reason to expect her behavior to be any different with the new one. Employers HATE drama, especially where it comes to new employees.

  • Yep, no one likes a new employee with old baggage – Kilisi May 25 '16 at 11:41
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DO NOT TELL THEM!!!

I had a buddy quit a bad situation and go work for another company. The current boss called that company and told them if they hire this guy, we'll pull all of our contracts from your company.

You do not have to tell them, but there IS a slight possibility that you should not work where you are going. If you are in a position to pull clients or business away from the current employer, then you might have an obligation to wait. This is usually for things like lawyers, designers, agents, etc. This keeps people from sticking it to their old company by taking their business with them when they leave.

If you've ever watched Mad Men, you can see it happening there. One of the big names at the firm goes to work for another advertising firm. That person was the face of the company to all the clients, so they still want to work with him. That means those client dollars are now going to the new company.

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First of all no, it may be common to inquire if you're all on good terms, but you are not obligated to answer. You mentioned that she has tried to sabotage future employment of yours before, so thats most likely what she is doing now. In no country I know of would you be obligated to share this either.

So in short, no. Don't tell.

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Yes, this is a "normal" thing to ask, however it is not commonly asked.

You should answer if you feel like it. In my opinion, this is more often (only) asked when you leave on a good note. I personally have not received this question when I left a terrible workplace.

When you leave on a bad note or have a bad feeling about the question, just say you don't want to answer that and ask why they want to know. If they don't answer, which I suspect will be the case, then you've got your public reason why you shouldn't tell them.

I am not a lawyer, but I don't think they can force you to tell and you might not want to update your social media with your new employer right away.

  • "If they don't answer, which I suspect will be the case" not sure about that, they could just make up an answer. Having said that, I can't imagine why they legitimately would need to know - if they need to keep in touch (e.g. for emergency questions regarding the work the OP has left behind), then it would be quite easy to create an email account on one of the free providers and give them that as a personal email address. – colmde May 25 '16 at 8:56
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I know that she trash talked me to another potential employer so I don't feel comfortable telling her where I'm going to be working.

Was this a reference call or you mean you told her you were interviewing somewhere and she called ahead of time? A reference call never ends well and generally speaking it is never wise to put a manager in as a reference without asking first.

In any even it's okay to decline where you are going but it wouldn't hurt. If she called ahead of your interview to make sure you didn't get it, then in certain countries that is illegal and certainly something you can consult a lawyer on.

  • It wasn't a reference call. I had applied to another company and the HR manager knew my manager and decided to call her and ask about me, ignoring all my references. – Zaberiel May 24 '16 at 21:13
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    @Zaberiel doesn't sound like a company you would have wanted to work for, should they have accepted you – Ángel May 25 '16 at 2:06

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