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Can we prohibit moonlighting?

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Q. Some of our full-time employees have told us that they are looking for part-time jobs to make extra income. We’re worried about how this will affect their performance at our company. Can we prohibit them from working for other employers after-hours?

A. There is no state or federal law that prohibits employees from simultaneously working for more than one company. However, employers are free to institute their own policies on employee moonlighting. There are a number of reasons a company might decide to institute such a policy.

For instance, employers might want to minimize the work its employees perform for their competitors, especially if they are concerned with protecting trade secrets and other sensitive business information. It’s for this reason that many employers require their employees to sign noncompete agreements.

Employers might also be concerned that an employee will use its tools or equipment while working for another company.

Finally, some employers may be concerned that their employees will not be able to devote enough energy or attention to their jobs if they are working part time for another company.

If you plan to have employers sign noncompete agreements in order to protect confidential information or intellectual property, keep in mind that the Texas Supreme Court has expanded the enforceability of such agreements in the past several years.

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