November 23rd, 2022 | Sterling

Don’t Be Kept in the Dark about Moonlighting

Employee moonlighting i.e. having a second job, typically secretly and at night, in addition to one’s regular employment is on the rise around the world and around the clock NOT just at night

This growth in moonlighting has largely been attributed to increasing work flexibility and a search for creative satisfaction since the pandemic. However, recent high-profile cases have shone a light on how moonlighting can cause issues for primary employers.

What is employee moonlighting?

Moonlighting refers to employees who take up a second job or multiple other working roles in addition to their full-time job.

For example, an employee may work for your business during typical business hours, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and also choose to take up additional employment with a separate employer from 6pm to midnight on certain weekdays.

Whilst moonlighting may be suitable in some situations, it may also negatively impact the primary employer due to customer data privacy and protection issues or a conflict of interest. This is particularly the case when an employee’s secondary employment is in the same industry and/or with a direct competitor.

What are the implications for employers?

It’s vital for employers to understand their rights in order to effectively manage employees who are working multiple jobs.

Employers should firstly ensure that all employees are fully informed of moonlighting policies. These are typically included in general HR policies or an employee handbook. The policy should specify the circumstances in which an employee may or may not have a secondary job, whether the employee needs to seek approval prior to taking up an additional job, and it should specify any industries, companies or roles in which the employee can’t hold a second job.

If a policy is in place and the employee does not meet the requirements specified in that policy, the employer may have the right to ask the employee to leave their secondary employment.

What additional precautions can employers take?

Employers can take two additional precautions to effectively identify and manage moonlighting employees. These safeguards will help to mitigate potential conflicts of interest.

One solution is to conduct thorough background screening prior to hiring new employees. This includes employment verifications, references, social media, directorship and adverse media searches, to name a few

Background screening can reveal whether a candidate continues to hold positions that they claim to have terminated. For instance, a candidate may lied about leaving their past employers but thorough screening, including a search on the candidate’s employee provident fund (PF) account, can uncovered that the candidate was still actively employed in two roles.

A supplementary solution is to conduct regular re-screening to ensure that no conflicts of interest arise during an employee’s tenure. It is often the case as an employee gains more experience and understanding of the market and especially in hybrid work environments where employees don’t necessary need to head into a physical office. Re-screening is one way to identify any employees who have taken up secondary employment during their tenure.

How can Sterling help?

Sterling provides background screening services by conducting thorough screening with direct sources, such as government authorities, local or national police agencies, and prior employers and referees and by conducting broad based media searches.

Sterling uses leading technology to conduct a wide range of background screening services in industry-leading turnaround times. Implementing a tailored suite of screening services can equip organisations with the valuable insights to better understand and manage their workforce.

Contact us here or drop us an email at to discuss your screening needs today.

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.