You might not know it, but there is a good chance one or more members of your workforce may be working multiple full-time jobs!

So what is Moonlighting? - As this fairly common and well-known term would imply, it is the act of working a second job. Typically in the off-work hours (at night) hence the term Moonlighting. Due to the apparent camouflage afforded by our current digital remote environment this practice has become common-placed. It has however gone far beyond working a second off hours gig to that of actually working multiple full-time jobs and attempting to have this be invisible to employers. Moonlighting as a concept isn't necessarily that offensive, but when productivity & quality are impacted or conflict of interest lines are crossed, the repercussions can be server indeed.

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Tips and Tricks


- Have clear disclaimers on job posting and in initial appointment setting that “Undisclosed moonlighting will not be tolerated” and, that any side work being performed is required to be disclosed to assess potential risk/conflict(s) of interest
- Policies (which should always be acknowledged in writing and kept on file) should clearly state employees must exclusively work and carry out your business while on your time, and moonlighting during business hours, using company property, or in a conflict of interest to the company, may result in termination of employment or contractual relationship
- If considering a stand-alone moonlighting policy, focus on the job-related concerns (being available when you need them, not interfering with this (their primary) job, using company property for company business only, and the need to know about, and approve of any additional employment)
- Stay away from limiting off-duty conduct or broad sweeping policies that may interfere with employee’s ability to make a living as many states and localities protect employee off-duty conduct or time
- Keep it job related, and always consult legal counsel with questions
- Ensure signed policies include clauses, or are standalone policies, on non-disclosure, protection of intellectual capital, property and proprietary information, conflicts of interest, etc.
- Add the requirements of “regular and prompt attendance and punctuality” and “appropriate and timely response to any/all communications, regardless of method” to every job description
- Do not assume these expectations are inherent or do not need to be said


- Look for frequently changing or appearing disappearing Linkedin profiles. Are you listed as the employer on the profile?
- Be on the lookout for team members who are overly tired, appear overworked, or exhausted in comparison to what you believe is their workload or productivity
- Look for inconsistency in quality of deliverables and attention to detail
- Be attentive to consistency of working hours and active participation on team group calls
- Look for patterns in explanation or excuses of missed deadlines or absences
- If the employee is utilizing a company computing asset be sure to monitor location of IP address, hours of operation / activity and any possible misuse if you believe something is not quite right
- If using instant messaging systems, note if/when an employee is regularly not available or not active
- Look for consistent and unexplained delay in responses to emails, texts and / or instant messaging ssystems
- Watch for weird verbal cues such as employees who inexplicably change names (either when referring to themselves or to the person asking a question) especially when the other name doesn’t appear to relate to anything in particular nor was expressly requested [i.e. can you please refer to me as Jane going forward?].
- Pay close attention and listen to stories about their life, experience, work, etc.  People tend to like to talk about themselves a lot, and a lot of times, they will end up revealing details that don’t align, aren’t about their current job, or something similar that will clue you in to their alter ego/identity (or just other job).
- Talk to your team members and openly discuss this topic / policy. Word gets around

Take Action

- In the event of any anomaly being detected, first announce that this is the case “Based on our observations we are seeing a pattern that can sometimes be indicative of moonlighting activities”.
- Ask the employee / contractor the direct question (ideally on video to gauge reactions) "Are you working on other jobs or projects"
- Provide the team member the opportunity to explain. It could a misunderstanding.
- If a contractor, notify the contractor organization and ask them to investigate and report their findings
- If an employee, engage your HR department immediately
- Always address the problem head on and allow the employee to correct the issue when at all possible
- If terminating the employment or contracting relationship, terminate for the actual performance issue(s) and reason(s), not the “moonlighting” itself
- Said differently, they did not complete assignments timely, it was a conflict of interest because of X, they did not disclose the other employment pursuant to policy and as required, etc.

Even after taking all these measures, it is unlikely you will fully eliminate moonlighting, and to be frank, if it isn’t impacting the quality of work, productivity, conflict of interest, or run afoul of any regulatory requirements, then you might find it tolerable. However, awareness and transparency are critical, and you can only achieve this through direct expectation setting and effective observation

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