Can my boss stop me from working a part-time job?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can my boss stop me from working a part-time job?

My boss sold his building and the guy who owns it now asked me if I can work for him only on when he needs me so it’s not even a full part-time job. My boss sent me an email saying that I need to get compensation insurance in order to work part-time unless it’s approvaled by him. Can he do this? I am 45 years old and been working from the age of 13 and I never heard anything like this. I’ve had full-time jobs and part -time jobs before in the past and never had to do anything like this. However, it was OK for me to do work at his house on the weekends with no problem. I think he’s just mad he had to sell the building and now he knows I’m working for the guy who owns it now.

Asked on August 27, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Rhode Island


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, he can do this: employment in this country is "employment at will." Among other things, that means that the employer sets all terms and conditions of employment, and can put essentially any restrictions on it that he chooses. Your employer could refuse to let you work part time jobs without his approval (or without satisfying some condition[s] he puts on having another job); if you don't or are not willing to comply, he could terminate you. So while he can't actually prevent you from working for another, he can terminate you for doing so unless you meet whatever conditions he chooses to put on it. Indeed, an employer can refuse to allow any second or outside employment whatsover and terminate any employer who takes or has a separate job or side gig, and that is legal.

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.

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