For every patent I have filed (hardware stuff, not software), the patent lawyers do a search of the patent database in all categories related to the patent, in order to ensure that the patent differs from any prior art. This is an essential part of the application.
The "never look" idea I think comes into play if, for example, you are writing a piece of software and want to be able to say that you came up with all the ideas yourself and did not simply peruse the patent database and copy someone elses idea.
Furthermore, I am assuming the original posters idea really was non-obvious and new, or they would not be trying to patent is (maybe this is naive), in which case there should be no identical prior art.
As a number of posters including the parent have stated, work for hire means you do not own the IP rights and it is not up to you to prevent a patent. If you(OP) are really opposed to software patents, if your company has an agreement about patent royalties where you get a share of profits, you should consider donating this money to one of the organizations that is fighting against software patents.