When is considered secondary employment?

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When is considered secondary employment?

I work in IT for a financial institution. Recently due to an “incident” the company started sending e-mails emphasizing that it treats any secondary employment unfavorably. Only conflict of interested is listed in the policy. I sometimes teach IT course part time at a local college. There is no conflict between my teaching and my job – no benefit to me linking one to the other. From the new communications seems they want me to report my status. Is this legal? Do I have to if it’s not in the policy manual? What are the legal implications if I don’t?

Asked on December 13, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is no legal definition of "secondary employment." Rather, every employer can set its own terms and conditions for whether employees may freelance, moonlight, have a second job, etc. Unless you have a contract to the contrary, one guaranteeing you the right to other work or restricting the grounds on which you could be disciplined or terminated, your employer could elect to discripline or fire you for having other employment, even if it does not directly impact your employer in any way. Or they could put other restrictions on you, such as requiring you to let them know of your extra-curriculuar doings. It may be silly and it may be unfair, but it is legal--an employer could make no outside employment a term or condition of employment.


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