At Christmas time, or for that matter anytime, employees often take on second jobs to supplement their income. Known as “moonlighting” these are often part time or seasonal jobs. The question often becomes can I, the employer, prohibit my employees from working a second job. Naturally the answer is “it depends”, so let’s explore that a bit further.
Most of you probably responded to the question in the title with “Of course, we can exercise our employment-at-will rights as an employer” and in many cases you would be correct. However, depending on the state you are in, such as California, there are prohibitions on terminating or disciplining someone for their off-work behavior that is lawful. So in those states, unless pole dancing has been declared illegal you would be restricted in your actions against your HR lady.
Do you have a policy?
As in all things HR it is always good to have a policy that states what your position is on “moonlighting”. Many companies, while not prohibiting second jobs, do put provisions in place to control the fallout from that second job. Some of these provisions include:
- You must inform us that you are working a second job and get permission to work a second job.
- Permission will depend on the position of the individual asking for permission. Not all employees will be treated the same, with job holders with higher level positions more likely to be denied the opportunity.
- Your job with us is your primary job. If your current job suffers in any manner from your second job you will be asked to make a choice on which job you wish to keep.
- You cannot have a job with a competitor or with any organization that would provide for a conflict of interest.
- You cannot have a job that would reflect poorly on the company.
- You cannot work that second job while engaged in your first job.
- You cannot use company equipment or supplies in conjunction with your second job.
- You cannot take leave from your first job in order to work on your second job.
Naturally once you grant permission to hold a second job you have to monitor the employee’s performance in order to insure their attendance, quality of work, and productivity do not slip as a result of that second job. I once had an employee who was always trying to leave early in order to get to their second job on time. We sat down and had a discussion about priorities.
As to your HR lady moonlighting as a pole dancer, while highly unlikely you will ever run into that situation, you could turn her down on the basis of it not being good for your company’s reputation. But if she is doing that you may want to consider giving her an increase in pay.
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