These days, many of your company’s employees have probably considered getting a second job — or they may have already picked one up. What should HR do before moonlighting starts to affect job performance?
Many experts warn against banning second jobs altogether, because it could create unnecessary retention problems. For example, would a manager want to lose a top performer just because she needs additional employment to make ends meet?
However, some second jobs are clearly problematic, like if the other job is for a competitor. Or, in safety-sensitive positions, employees with multiple jobs could be too tired to stay safe and alert.
That’s why many employers don’t place a blanket ban on moonlighting but use a carefully written policy to protect the company without intruding too far into employees’ personal lives. Here are some points experts say should be included:
- Avoid conflicts of interest — Employees should be prohibited from sharing trade secrets with another company, working for a competitor or performing a job that could hurt the company’s image.
- Focus on job performance — Any outside job that gets in the way of an employee’s ability to meet safety or performance standards should be banned. And, of course, there should be no moonlighting on company time.
- Require approval — Many companies require employees to tell their managers before taking on another job. That way, the company can make sure employees aren’t moonlighting in ways that could have a negative impact.
As with any policy, the key is consistently enforcing it to avoid legal problems.
In one recent court case, an African-American manager performed duties for a second job while on the clock at her primary employer. After the company found out, she was demoted.
She sued, claiming other employees were allowed to have second jobs and she was treated unfairly because of her race.
Who won? The court sided with the employer. The company had a right to keep employees from working for someone else while it was paying them. And the employee couldn’t prove her co-workers had been caught moonlighting while at work.
Therefore, the conduct wasn’t similar, and there was no evidence of discrimination (Cite: Roland v. U.S. Postal Service).
What does your company say about employees with second jobs? Do employers need policies on moonlighting? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.