Got FOMO from making 2-3x income with multiple remote jobs? Wondering if it’s legal to work multiple remote jobs? No more scaremongering. I’m here to tell you it’s legal and here’s why.
What does at-will employment mean?
First, if you live in the United States, at-will employment is the law. This means it’s a free market between employees and employers, so it’s legal to work multiple remote jobs. But watch out for the tax consequences!
UPDATED 8/30/2021: For UK and Canada, a notice period for termination is required by both employees and employers, and is typically spelled out in the employment contract. Thanks to our diligent readers who noted the discrepancy. While it’s technically legal to work two jobs at once in the UK and Canada, do consult a lawyer in your country and review your employment contracts to understand the legal risks.
Back to the United States. So if you live in California, your remote jobs are presumed at-will employment. Don’t live in California? You’ll need to do some research on your own or consult a labor lawyer. BONUS: California has one of the most pro-labor employment laws. And why employers don’t prohibit a second job or overtly terminate an employee due to a second job. You can learn about California’s Labor Code §96(k) or read this law firm’s blog advising employers on moonlighting policy. The bottom line is we live in a free agent economy — it’s legal to work multiple remote jobs and sell your skills to multiple bidders.
The Labor Commissioner and his or her deputies and representatives authorized by him or her in writing shall, upon the filing of a claim therefor by an employee, or an employee representative authorized in writing by an employee, with the Labor Commissioner, take assignments of:
(k) Claims for loss of wages as the result of demotion, suspension, or discharge from employment for lawful conduct occurring during nonworking hours away from the employer’s premises.California Labor Code Section 96 (k)
Can you get fired from legally working multiple remote jobs?
The short answer is yes due to at-will employment. But this is a cop-out answer. The truth is you can get fired anytime whether you work one or multiple remote jobs. Here at Overemployed, we argue you should work multiple remote jobs precisely because of at-will employment. There’s no implied lifetime employment anymore, not even at IBM.
Get the facts, read your employment offers and employee handbooks
Now that we’ve cleared up the legality of working two or more remote jobs, you should re-read all your employment offer letters. Pay particular attention to the wording in the conflict of interest section. It’s your choice to inform none, some, or all your employers you’re working multiple remote jobs.
Here at Overemployed, the community has embraced the “let the sleeping dogs lie” policy — keeping our heads down and mouth shut, especially when there’s no conflict of interest. We believe it is the most humane and ethical way to keep both sides happy. It’s human nature to dislike promiscuity. But we want to remind everyone there’s no reward for loyalty in the corporate world. So why should you date exclusively for work?
The biggest gotcha employers can impose on at-will employees is a conflict of interest policy. So don’t be a jackass and go work for competitors, contractors, clients, vendors, and the likes. Just be smart like the Overemployed community.
Overemployment in Tech is very common due to a lack of skills (perceived or real is debatable)
While I don’t entirely agree with the opinions expressed by the Grocery Guy, the general legal principles apply whether you’re bagging groceries or writing code. Like companies, we’re all trying to maximize our profits, so take advantage of the mismatch in demand and supply and go after multiple remote jobs.
Just make sure you’ve reviewed your local and state employment laws (again, sleep easy if you’re in California). And if necessary, consult a lawyer for what is a really small fee to have peace of mind. While we aren’t legal experts, we’re bullish that the laws allow us to create an Association of the Overemployed and turning the tide on corporate exploits of labor. Our goal is to keep adding partnerships and services to meet the needs of the Overemployed.
Need another opinion on a potential conflict of interest?
Send your employee offer letters and/or employee handbooks to me, Isaac, directly and I can get back to you within 24 hours with my non-legally binding opinion. And if you’re in New York, then you can grab a free 30-minute consult with Matthew Berman from Valli, Kane, and Vagnini LLP.
Curious to learn more from the community? Join us and find out.