Can an employer limit the rights of casual or zero hour employees to have a second job in IL?

I am in Illinois work for a county Health Department.
I do vision hearing screenings on an as needed basis.
I am considered a part-time casual employee and may never work over 1,000 hours per year.

There is very little regularity in my hours worked. Once in a while I come close to full time, then again there are many times when I have no hours during a two week pay period, particularly over the summer. In my reviews other documents and discussion I have suggested and asked several times for a small number 2-4 of ‘regular’ hours where I can plan on always being in the office at least every other week in order to stay connected to what is happening with the agency as a whole, but that has never been acted upon.

While focusing on how to save money, I was informed several years ago that I should not come to any of 1 hour the monthly general staff meetings, the 1 hour monthly department staff meetings, or the 2 hour monthly general staff trainings with the exception of the annual OSHA training, and possibly the annual emergency preparation training. In addition, any hours not directly billable to a client are questioned and must be defended as necessary.

I have always worked at least one second job while employed by the agency since there is no guarantee of any work. Now, under a new administrator, the health department would like to insist the clause prohibiting outside employment for regular employees applies to me as well, and that they have jurisdiction over all of my possible work time, although they will not make even the most modest guarantee of any hours per month or per pay period.

Is this legal?

Asked on July 14, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Does there exist a union agreement or employment contract that gives you the right to outside employment? If not, then as an "at will" worker, your employer can set the conditions much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination). For your part, you can either accept this restriction, ignore it but face termination, or quit.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal: an employer may set essentially any terms or conditions on employment, including that employees--no matter how much or how little they work--do not have outside employment or second jobs. Employees who do not want to live under that restriction can seek other employment entirely (i.e. quit). This is all part of "employment at will": there is no right to or guaranty of a job, an employer can set any rules about working it likes, and employees then decide if they want to have a job with those rules or not.


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