For many people, it takes two jobs to make ends meet, but Is it legal for an employer to prohibit employees from working a second job?
In general, an employer cannot tell you what you can and can't do on your own time. However, employers want to ensure that you are focused on the work that you are doing for them. They don't want you to be so tired or distracted from your second job that you can't perform effectively for them. They also have a right to protect themselves from conflicts of interest and from allowing people to use company resources or equipment for outside work.
In most instances, New Jersey employees are at-will, meaning they can be fired for any non-discriminatory reason. How do you know if you are an "at-will" employee? Well, unless you have signed an actual employment contract, you are "at-will."
So, what does being "at-will" mean in the context of having a second job? Well, being an "at-will" employee, if your employer thinks that your second job is interfering with your performance with his/her company he/she has the right to fire you. As long as your employer is not firing you for a discriminatory reason (race, creed, religion, etc.), it is not illegal.
One of the only situations where an employer can prohibit you from taking a second job is where a conflict of interest exists. For example, if you are a legal secretary working at law firm "A" and they regularly represent the town of "Anywhere" in residential tax appeal matters, that firm may want to prevent you from working with law firm "B" who regularly represents homeowners suing the town of "Anywhere" for tax appeal matters.
The real focus here is the word, "prohibit". An employer might not be permitted to "prohibit" you from taking a second job that does not create a conflict of interest with their business, but they can fire for any non-discriminatory reason. So, basically, if the employer does not like that you have a second job or they feel that it is interfering with your performance with their business, they can likely fire you.
If you would like more information about this topic or have general legal questions, please feel free to contact me at (201) 904-2211 or via email at email@example.com. We answer legal questions on a daily basis and would be happy to discuss any issues or questions that you have with you. © 2017, Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont & Associates. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between the firm and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.