Does an employer under any circumstances have the authority over what you do when you are not on the clock working for them?

Asked on March 16, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your employee does, as a general matter, have authority over what you do "off the clock." Employees may set terms, conditions, and requirements for employment; these terms or conditions can impact what you do when not at work. For example, an employer could prohibit you from dating a coworker or an employee of a customer; could prohibit you from using certain social networking sites; could ban certain hobbies; etc. They can even prevent your exercies of "free speech" to a very large extent, since the constitution does not apply to private employers in that way. Anyone who does not want to abide by an employer's restrictions has the option of seeking other employment; but if he or she wants to work there, he or she has to do what the employers asks.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.