Employers have long tried to figure out ways to control their employees not only while they are on the clock, but also during their personal time. Joining a company can sometimes feel like a way of life rather than a way to earn income to sustain yourself. The latest way employers are overstepping their bounds is through “moonlighting” bans, or rules restricting employees who want to take on a second job. The National Labor Relations Board, however, recently struck down one such ban, sending a message to other employers across the country.
This is a major victory for employees, who already have more than enough burdens to carry. Our employment lawyers know if someone is taking on a second job, it is almost always because they are in need of more cash in order to make ends meet. The last thing workers should have to worry about is whether taking on additional work to provide for their families will jeopardize their first source of income.
An NLRB administrative law judge recently ruled on a company policy that put undue restrictions on the type of second job an employee could take on. Limitations imposed by the company stated that the job could not be inconsistent with the company’s interests and could not reflect poorly on the company’s public image. While the company argued the policy was meant to prevent employees from working for competitors, the judge rightly countered that insisting employees put company interests first even in their free time had the potential to infringe on unions, whose interests would serve other employees rather than the company. Whether intentional or not, the wording would affect workers’ right to organize, and thus those parts of the policy were struck down. Continue reading