Is it legal for an employer to claim conflict of interest for getting a job inside the same building?

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Is it legal for an employer to claim conflict of interest for getting a job inside the same building?

I work at a theater. They have security run by a separate company. I have applied for the security. The assistant manager of the theater claims it’s a conflict of interest to work both jobs. Inside the same building. The office for the security has been moved out of the same building but they still secure the building. The theater is leasing the building from a private owner. The security is also leasing a spot on the property. Since it is 2 different companies working in the same lot/building/property, can 1 employer retaliate and remove privileges based on getting a job with a separate company? I understand a company can take away privileges at any time it’s their discretion. But taking them away for getting a second job within the same building? Can they ask for an ultimatum, keeping on job over the other When there would be no conflict of hours. Should I speak to a higher up about this?

Asked on August 2, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Most employment is "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination). Therefore, a business can prohibit a worker from taking a second job, whether or not it is in the same buiding. While seemingly unfair, it is perfectly permissable. The only exceptions here would be if such an action violates the terms of an employment contract or union agreement.


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