HR Management & Compliance, Recruiting

Ask the Expert: Should I Hire a Full-Time Employee Who Moonlights?

Q. If we are hiring a new, full-time employee who is also salaried at another company, are there any labor laws we need to be aware of that could be compromised if the new hire works over a certain number of hours or something like that?

moonlighting

A. This is an excellent question that often comes up in the context of nonexecutive employees working secondary jobs. 

In general, employers are at leisure to prohibit employees from working second jobs, or “moonlighting.” However, sometimes there may be state off-duty conduct laws that prohibit an employer from disciplining or discharging an employee for taking part in legal off-duty conduct.

California has such a law. Specifically, California law makes it clear that it is unlawful for an employer to interfere with an employee’s off-duty activities. It is not possible to forbid employees from taking other jobs or pursuing hobbies, endeavors, projects, or other efforts while they are not at the workplace. (See California Labor Code § 96.)

So the short answer is that you may not prevent your employees from having another job. But you may wish to consider further whether prohibiting such moonlighting is the most effective path to ensuring their commitment to your primary business. 

We are aware of no law that restricts an employee’s work hours when working two full-time jobs in California. However, if an employee begins faltering on the requirement to be flexible and available to the business, then it may be preferable to address this situation as a performance problem when and if it occurs rather than imposing additional restrictions on (and risk losing) an employee who may be capable of meeting the demands of both businesses.