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I'm sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.
My name is Joseph and my goal is to provide you with excellent service today.
Actually, as an at-will employee (if the employee is not unionized or has a contract
), you are under no duty to offer the new position to the old employee before recruiting, and have no obligation to hire the old employee back if you do not want to hire the person back.
This is due to the employment at-will doctrine, which is codified in California Labor Code Section 2922, and states:
"An employment, having no specified term, may be terminated at
the will of either party on notice to the other. Employment for a
specified term means an employment for a period greater than one
So, as an employer you are are free to decide whether you want to ask the old employee if he or she wants the job or just conduct a new recruiting effort without even considering the old employee for his or her prior position.
I hope the above information is helpful.
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Thanks and best of luck!