Given that one is contractually bound by a non-moonlighting clause, is it a possible loop-hole to provide expertise via a proxy?


If my previous employer wishes to procure my expertise and perhaps perform work.

Could I suggest they hire another person (a relative or friend) who need not necessarily have any experience in the field. I "advise" that person over casual conversation at home who then gets paid.

I would like to understand it that I am not employed, therefore I am not moon-lighting. But I would welcome more knowledgeable opinions.


I am not suggesting that I break the law or breach contract. Should I be approached I would like to know what my legal options are.


Thank you everyone for understanding my very hypothetical question. I do not intend to do such a thing. I don't even want to do this work anymore. I guess it was more out of interest.

Thank you for participating in a civil discussion. Which is rare in the internet :)

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    So you're basically going to be doing the work here and using your "friend" as a mule?
    – user44108
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 8:08
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    After you'll be aware of your legal options can I humbly suggest to also consider ethical implications? Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 8:14
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    I think the answers here should focus on the legality of non-moonlighting clauses in a given jurisdiction and in that case a lawyer may be a better bet than an online forum.
    – Alper
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 8:39
  • @AdrianoRepetti as for ethical concerns; as long as my work at my employer is not negatively affected, my conscience is OK with it. That is the whole reason behind the non-moonlighting clause, to prevent one's work from being impacted. Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 9:21
  • @Alper I agree 100%. a big IF it were to happen, I would definitely consult a professional first. Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 9:22

2 Answers 2


One important question that may cause you to reconsider this: do you trust your previous employer to have your best interests at heart and not ‘mention’ this arrangement to your current employer for whatever reason?

And if you must do this, ethically I would consider the harm done and the repercussions upon discovery.

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    You raise a good point. Even if it's completely legal, the potential damage to my relationship with my new employer would not be worth it. Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 9:26

You're a bit stuck here.

In order for your scheme to work, your previous employer must be aware of your situation and be fine about it. It's unlikely that they're going to employ someone who obviously does not have the skills or experience to complete this piece of work and they're not likely to be fooled by you saying you're involved on an "advisory" basis - they'll just assume that you're doing the work.

That's your first hurdle right there. If they do accept, then they accept that they're complicit with you breaking your contractual agreement with your current employer.

Whether they're going to risk that or not is their concern.

Using a friend/relative as a mule doesn't really alter the fact that you're breaking the terms of your employment. Your friend won't ultimately be doing the work - you will. He/She won't stand up to questioning should the situation be questioned in the future.

Basically, it's a big fat risk for you and your previous employer.

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    Good answer, I'd also add that 1) your friend should also give you the money and it might be both suspicious or plain illegal if you don't pay taxes on that 2) your friend may be responsible for your work and she may not have the legal qualifications required by the law Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 9:00
  • @AdrianoRepetti Good points. I would of course pay taxes, not trying to skirt that. And the field it software development, so there's not legal certifications that need to be complied with. Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 9:25
  • @Snow I am assuming that my previous employer would understand my scheme in a "nudge nudge wink wink" kind of way. So the mule having to explain their (my) work would not be a concern. Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 9:28

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