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Second jobs key considerations for employers

Second jobs: Key considerations for employers

It is not unusual for employees to take on second jobs. For many, it is simply a way to make ends meet. For others, it may afford greater flexibility and/or an opportunity to diversify their skillset. However, are there any potential pitfalls for an employer and what can an employer do to avoid them?

Implied duty of fidelity

Every employee owes an implied duty of fidelity to their employer during their employment. This means that they should not act in a way which could be detrimental to the interests of the employer. Employees who work for themselves or someone else, during working time, are very likely to be in breach of this duty and this would usually justify their dismissal.

However, the position is not so clear-cut when the employee works for someone else outside of their working time, even if they are working for a competitor. In order to rely on the implied duty of fidelity in these circumstances, the employer would have to demonstrate that it has suffered significant harm as a result of that activity. This can be difficult to establish. Therefore, if an employer is concerned about an employee working for a competitor outside of working hours, it should consider inserting an express clause into the contract of employment.

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This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.

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Andrew Chamberlain

Partner - Head of Employment & Chair of the SDE

I am a Partner, the National Head of the Employment Team and the Chair of the Service Delivery Executive (SDE), which is focused on building better solutions for clients.