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Use moonlighting, confidentiality policies to discourage outside work

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Most jobs demand full-time attention. That doesn’t always stop employees from taking second or even third jobs. For some, it may be a way to stay ahead economically. For others who moonlight for business rivals, it may be a way to get back at their primary employer for real or imagined slights.

If you want your full-time employees’ full-time attention, consider adopting a “no moonlighting” policy, plus a clear prohibition against any kind of work for the competition.

Recent case: Linda Dezack, who was 49 years old, took a job with Alliance Imaging as an area marketing specialist. Her job was to sell the company’s scanning services to area hospitals and physicians. It was a full-time, at-will job paying $55,000 per year, plus a car allowance and bonuses.

Dezack received a copy of the employee handbook, which included a moonlighting clause that limited outside work to jobs with noncompetitors.

Almost immediately, Dezack butted heads with her boss. Then, while she was still on probation, management got wind that Dezack might be working a second job with a competitor. After some investigation, HR discovered that Dezack was actually working full time for that competitor at a salary of $58,000.

When confronted, Dezack admitted she had the second full-time job. Her excuse? She said she was trying out both to see which would be better.

Alliance Imaging fired her for violating the moonlighting clause. Her second employer also terminated her. Dezack then sued Alliance Imaging, alleging age discrimination.

The court threw out her case. It reasoned that she had cast no doubt on Alliance’s stated discharge reason—violating company rules. (Dezack v. Alliance Imaging, et al., No. 06-1418, WD PA, 2008)

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