Moonlighting Employees? What to do

As many as six of every 100 employees moonlight, or work a second job.

Employers get concerned about moonlighting employees when the moonlighting has an adverse effect on the workplace. A second job often results in employees: being tired and less productive during their primary job, being unable to work overtime hours, working for competitors or even stealing information, materials or supplies from their primary employer.

A good way to deal with moonlighting employees is to develop a strong, clear policy on this topic in your employee handbook.

What to consider:

Before you write your policy, consider the following things.

  1. Do you allow moonlighting? Are certain employees prohibited from taking on a second job? Example: Persons in high-level management positions or full-time positions.
  2. Are employees prohibited from working for competitors?
  3. Are employees still required to work overtime?
  4. Do employees need to have management approval before taking on a second job?
  5. How will you deal with moonlighting employees whose work performance starts to drop?
  6. What will happen if the employee is injured on the second job? How will this affect the employee’s use of and right to benefits you provide?
  7. What will happen if an employee takes a second job without prior approval?


Before writing your policy on moonlighting, check to see if your state has a law limiting employer controls on secondary employment. Some states have privacy laws which put limits on terminating employees for off-duty conduct. But in these cases employees aren’t protected if they betray company trade secrets, reveal or use proprietary information, or take on a second job which creates a conflict of interest with their employment with you.

Sample Policy #1: Outside Employment

The company believes the demands of your work schedule make it extremely difficult for you to perform a second job without a serious impairment of your job performance.

The company discourages full-time employees from taking employment with another employer. However, if you are considering outside work, you must receive permission from your supervisor in advance of accepting outside employment.

If at any time, in the company’s opinion, your outside employment affects your work performance, including your availability for overtime when requested, management will require you to limit or drop your outside employment or terminate your employment here.

At no time during your employment here will you be permitted to perform work for an employer in the same business or activity as the company, or is in any way in competition with the company.

Sample Policy #2: Outside Employment

Outside employment with another employer is acceptable so long as you understand your position with the company is with your primary employer. Your performance here must remain acceptable, and you must be available for overtime work as needed.

At no time will you be permitted to have outside employment which in any way competes with or creates a conflict of interest with your primary employer.

If your outside employment causes poor performance, absenteeism, tardiness, or causes you to refuse to work overtime for the company, you must discontinue your outside employment or terminate your employment with the company.

[NOTE: Information and guidance in this¬†article is intended to provide accurate and helpful information on the subjects covered. It is not intended to provide a legal service for readers’ individual needs. For legal guidance in your specific situations, always consult with an attorney who is familiar with employment law and labor issues.]

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