Moonlighting, especially in tough economic times, is not uncommon, since many people are just trying to make ends meet, let alone get ahead.
But moonlighting is not an employee’s protected legal right. Employers have a right to require loyalty from their employees. If your work performance slips as a result of your other activities, employers are within their legal rights to terminate you on the basis that your moonlighting is hurting performance, dependability, and attentiveness.
In addition, employers may lawfully prohibit or severely limit moonlighting if your “day job” is safety- or production-sensitive or if response times to unscheduled work are critical, such as for law enforcement, emergency or medical personnel.
Employers may also impose non-compete provisions, which means you can’t moonlight for a competitor. As for whether to tell your employer, that’s a judgment call. It could be awkward to pick up your boss or colleagues from dinner one […]