Moonlighting, refers to a situation where an employee holds secondary employment or runs a personal business while employed elsewhere. This is a common practice that can offer financial benefits to workers, however, it also presents potential risks and conflicts of interest for employers. It is crucial for employers to properly regulating moonlighting in order to maintaining a fair and productive work environment.
When an employee divides their professional commitment between two jobs or engages in a business venture while employed, it can lead to possible problems such as divided loyalty, reduced productivity, and potential conflicts of interest. These issues can jeopardize the employer’s business interests, especially if the employee’s secondary employment competes directly with their primary job or compromises their effectiveness.
Employment contracts and organizational policies should explicitly address moonlighting to avoid legal disputes and clarify expectations. These policies should outline conditions under which an employee may pursue external work opportunities and the procedure for seeking approval from their primary employer.
Dismissal may be warranted if an employee’s secondary job adversely affects their primary job performance or if it leads to a direct conflict of interest. However, the following factors are generally considered when evaluating whether moonlighting has irreparably damaged the employment relationship:
  1. Dishonesty: Was the employee transparent about their secondary employment?
  2. Mitigation of lost trust: Can the trust be rebuilt, or has the behaviour led to irreversible damage?
  3. Damage to Employer’s Business: Did the employee’s actions wilfully harm the employer?
Without a clause explicitly prohibiting moonlighting or a clear policy in place, it is difficult for employers to argue that an employee has violated the terms of their employment simply by working another job.
Effectively managing moonlighting in the workplace requires a balance between allowing employees the freedom to earn supplementary income and protecting the business’s interests. By implementing comprehensive policies, employers can mitigate risks associated with moonlighting while respecting their employees’ rights to seek additional employment.

Contact the LWO at 0861 101 828 for more information about how to use labour legislation to your benefit in the drafting of employment contracts as well as policies and procedures.



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