Employee Rights Attorney
Mission Viejo, California
Q: “As an hourly employee, does my employer have exclusive right to my services? I am told that I cannot work for another company, but I am having financial difficulty and need to work a part-time job.”
A: “What you do on your own time should not be the concern of your employer. You should be able to work part time after your regular daily work hours. Working another job on the weekend should be even less objectionable.
“A ban on part-time work would appear to violate common rights of fairness, especially if this is a new policy after you have worked at the company many years.
“On the other hand, some employers might have a legal right to make this demand. An employer can restrict your outside employment if it is with a competing company, for example.
“You also may be in a job that requires erratic hours from day to day, or requires you to be available on a beeper-call system on your off hours.
“Your employer might have a legitimate right to demand that you keep your schedule free of other work commitments. But if your freedom to do what you want to do on your off hours is limited, your employer may have to pay you for being on call.
“Your employer’s position is further justified if your work performance is affected because of other late-night work commitments.
“Furthermore, your rights might depend on whether or not this requirement was imposed on you from the first day of your employment, or unilaterally later on. It doesn’t sound like it is a definite written policy, but simply one that has been mentioned to you informally.
“If you consider discreetly working another job and not telling your employer about it, realize you might get fired for doing it.”