Can an employer legally require you to divulge a second job or self-employment?

Recently, my company announced that all workers would have to divulge any second jobs or self-employment, and furthermore, have them approved (or denied) by the General Manager as a condition for continued employment.

Is this legal?

Notes: I work in California (so any help with state law would be useful) and my employer is a State Government entity.

Image taken on 2009-09-28 14:06:32. Image Source. (Used with permission)

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16 Responses to “Can an employer legally require you to divulge a second job or self-employment?”

  1. but ski says:

    sounds insane to me contact your labor board

  2. Angie K says:

    I don’t have a source, but I am going to say No.
    If it becomes a problem with your current employer, then you should really hire a lawyer!

  3. schatzyjr says:

    No, what you do outside of working hours is your business.

  4. M G says:

    yes your job employer certainly prohibit you from having a second job.

  5. rivasj27 says:

    yes..they have to know if anything will interfer with your job with them. Also sounds like they are doing to start laying off workers and will probably only lay off those with other jobs or income as to not upset the ones who would be out on the streets.

  6. Xavier says:

    You may have signed a non-compete agreement and therefore the company would have the right to deny you a second job which competes with your first.

  7. El Jefe says:

    Yes they can and have every right.
    If you are working for a competitor then you could be breaking laws and the rules of ethics. I am a t-com engineer I cannot work for anyone else doing this period or I will be fired on the spot because of price and technology wars. I can have another job doing anything else though.

  8. Mama Bear says:

    To my knowledge, unless you signed a statement on being hired, they can NOT force you to reveal your private life, unless you are working in a competitive area, or you are working in a place that you can divulge corporate secrets. But if you are working for the state, say in a office environment and you freelance as a DJ or computer graphic designer, as an example. No, they can not. But since you question it, call your local labor board.

  9. Old Fool says:

    If you have a contract with an employer that has a clause that says you can not have other jobs or employment. Yes, they can demand you tell them.
    This is why we need unions, if you are in a union, contact an official with this issue. If you are not in a union then start reading the statutes or get an attorney.

  10. leysarob says:

    We have a similar policy in place (and I work for a municipality). Yes, it’s legal. Second jobs can cause conflict of interest, etc. It may even be more enforceable since your work for a state government.

  11. fashionista says:

    Many companies including state and federal agencies have “Non Compete” clauses in their ethics policies. Periodically, companies go through a phase of trying to “catch” people who are violating this policy, by making you tell them of second jobs or self employment. They will review it and then determine if it competes with them in anyway. If your second job or self employment has no bearing on your employment with them they shouldn’t have any problem with it. They cannot legally make you divulge that however, if you do not and it is discovered it would then be grounds for termination, whereas it was not previously had you cooperated.

  12. Brian A says:

    Yes, if you work for the state government they certainly can require to know whether you have any jobs that would conflict with the proper execution of your duties as a state employee.

  13. recruiter guy says:

    If you have signed a no-compete agreement, then you cannot work in the same industry for a competitor — or, if it’s strict enough, perhaps you can’t even do similar work in any field, so you need to check the language. If you’d be working for someone who’s not a competitor and the agreement allows for this, fine, but you’re ethically (and likely legally) obligated to disclose this relationship to your employer so everything’s above board. This means giving them the right to approve your outside work. Most types of non-competes contracts are not valid California.

    I am sure if you looked at your employement offer letter it will have all of the language or non compete spelled out and as this is a government position there is usually some pretty thick boiler plate to follow, many times in government you can have a 2nd job but it must be approved to make sure there is no bias should the employer be affiliated to your line of work.

  14. Landlord says:

    This is legal in CA. They have the right to know if you are working for a competitor or not. Since you work for the government I would think they have an obligation to assure you are not working for an entity that could be a conflict of interest, as you may have access to sensitive information.

  15. kapn says:

    It is…many large companies have that stipulation in there hiring contract….

    They want 100% from you….this is only fair.

  16. Star says:

    Yes because they have to determine a conflict of interest.

    And, when you work for a public agency, there is a “conflict of interest” form that you need to complete EVERY year (at least I know of people employed in the county’s attorneys’ office that complete it every year).

    I’m a bit surprised that it’s recently – unless you haven’t been employed there very long. I work for a local public agency and had to complete one within 30-60 days of employment and every year thereafter (we have until end of March to complete the form).

    It’s called Form 700 (statement of economic interests) and here is information about it:


    The purpose of financial disclosure is to alert public officials to personal interests that might be affected while they are performing their official duties, i.e., making governmental decisions. Disclosure also helps inform the public about potential conflicts of interest.

    Public officials at every level of state and local government must disclose their personal financial interests. Elected officials, judges, and high-ranking appointed officials generally have the most comprehensive disclosure requirements. (Gov. Code Section 87200.) These include disclosure of:

    * Investments in business entities (e.g., stock holdings, owning a business, a partnership)
    * Interests in real estate (real property)
    * Sources of personal income, including gifts, loans and travel payments
    * Positions of management or employment with business entities

    For most other officials, including employees of state and local government agencies, it is up to the agencies that employ them to decide what their disclosure requirements are. Each state and local agency must adopt a conflict of interest code tailoring the disclosure requirements for each position within the agency to the types of governmental decisions a person holding that position would make. For example, an employee who approves contracts for goods or services purchased by her agency should not be required to disclose real estate interests, but should be required to disclose investments in and income from individuals and entities that supply equipment, materials, or services to the agency. (Gov. Code Sections 87301 and 87302.)

    Unpaid members of boards and commissions and consultants to state and local government agencies also may be required to disclose their personal financial interests if they make or participate in making governmental decisions that could affect their private financial interests.

    Disclosure is made on a form called a “statement of economic interests” (Form 700). The form must be filed each year. Filed forms are public documents that must be made available to anyone who requests them.

    So, yes, it can be required.