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Can I Get Fired for Having a Second Job?


According to the United States Census Bureau, the number of people that are holding multiple jobs has been growing more and more prevalent over the course of the last two decades. From 1996 to early 2018, the number of people with multiple jobs averaged out at about 7.2% of all employed individuals.

And with a growing number of people who are working two jobs (or more) at once, like a group of white-collar workers that decided to take on two full time remote jobs at once during the COVID-19 pandemic, you might find yourself with a number of questions about the legality behind having more than one job at once.

Below, we take a look at a number of questions that relate to having a second job and whether it is illegal to work two jobs at one time.

Disclaimer: The following is not legal advice. It is general information intended to educate. If you need legal advice, please consult with an employment attorney regarding your specific circumstances.

Is It Illegal to Work 2 Jobs at the Same Time?

In general, it is not illegal for someone to work two or more jobs at once unless you have signed an employment contract that strictly prohibits you from having a second job, or your employer otherwise forbids you from doing so.

It is exceedingly common for people to work more than one job in a number of different ways such as:

  • Freelancing
  • Running their own business
  • Working multiple part-time jobs
  • Maintaining a full-time job while working any of the above

Your employer may have specific policies in place that address second jobs in your employee handbook. It can be beneficial to familiarize yourself with those policies if you are considering taking on a second job.

You can speak with an employment contract lawyer from Coffman Legal if you have questions regarding your contract and policies that relate to a second job.

Do I Have to Tell My Employer That I Have a Second Job?

The question of “should I tell my boss I got a second job?” can feel daunting. Some employers will not care too much that you have a second job, especially if taking a second job is not against your employment contract or company policies.

But in certain cases, you may find that your employer does care about you working a second job.

Some employers will strictly prohibit employees from taking on a second job, so it can be important for you to read your employee handbook and understand company policies.

In many instances, you do not have to tell your employer that you got a second job – unless there are specific policies that prohibit you from taking on a second job or if you are required by company policy to disclose any other jobs you have.

If You Work Two Jobs, Is It Legal for One Employer to Ask You to Quit Your Other Job?

It is likely legal for an employer to ask you to quit your other job. Oftentimes an employer will ask an employee to quit or reduce hours at a second job when they feel that the second job is interfering with an employee’s job performance. Can you quit a contract job?

Asking an employee to do something, such as quitting a second job, is likely not illegal. This does not mean that you have to quit your other job if asked to, but your employer does have the right to ask.

At-Will Employment

Another factor to keep in mind when it comes to holding two or more jobs is at-will employment.

As a general rule of thumb in the United States, most people will be considered at-will employees. This means that both the employee and employer can end the employment relationship at any time and for any reason – as long as ending a said relationship does not:

  • Violate a valid and enforceable employment contract
  • Is not unlawful or illegal based on public policy, state law, or federal law

So, for an individual who is working two jobs, you will typically not be at risk of being terminated from your position as long as you are not violating an enforceable employment contract that prohibits you from working another job and your work performance is meeting expectations.

With that in mind, at-will employment does give your employers the ability to fire or terminate an employee for any reason or no reason as long as the employer does not terminate the employee for an unlawful reason.

There are certain exceptions like state and federal laws that prohibit terminations based on reasons like discrimination based on race, gender, pregnancy status, and other protected classes and public policy exceptions.

If you believe you have been fired in an unlawful manner for holding a second job, please reach out to the team of employment attorneys at Coffman Legal, LLC today.

Looking for Legal Assistance? Speak With a Columbus Employment Lawyer

When it comes to questions surrounding having a second job, the Coffman Legal team is here to help you! We understand the ins and outs of employment law in Ohio and can help answer any specific questions you may have regarding holding a second job.

If you have been fired for a second job and believe you were fired unfairly, it can be prudent to speak with a Columbus employment attorney to see if you have grounds for a case.

You can connect with one of our experienced Columbus employment lawyers over the phone at 614-949-1181 or online through our contact form. All first consultations are free and confidential.


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