If the company I currently work for is looking to outsource a website to an outside contractor. Would it be possible/ethical/legal for me to apply to that company to intentionally work on this website (ignore time constraints of working on both)?

Would it then be possible/ethical/legal to bill both my current company and the contractor for the time spent on this project?


Since, as mentioned in the comments, it may be double billing. Would it be ethical to not charge them both for doing the work, but still work separately at both places? Would that be considered as me being something like a mole by working at the contractor company?

  • You ask if it is double billing and then state that you want to bill two entities for the same work. Really?!?!?! – Peter M Mar 9 '17 at 22:18
  • Well from what I can tell from other questions around here, double billing is like billing the same person more for the same work. If you were working on an app for two separate companies, do you split the costs between them, or charge them both for the app? – Alec Gordon Mar 9 '17 at 22:20
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    Situation doesn't make sense to me yet. Why would your company hire you and a contractor to do the exact same work? – user42272 Mar 9 '17 at 22:32
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    Sounds like moonlighting rather than double billing, you're getting paid for different work, just same project... ethical is another story. People have different ideas on the ethics of moonlighting if it isn't disallowed via contract. – Kilisi Mar 9 '17 at 22:43
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    Well, unless you're getting paid for the same work twice I would class it as moonlighting not double billing, doesn't matter so much what time you are doing it, these are loosely defined terms. But it is unethical to be doing other peoples work during your working hours. – Kilisi Mar 9 '17 at 22:55

It's probably too risky in this case.

  1. You need to make sure it's legal with your contract;
  2. You need to carefully separate out your hours;
  3. Using anything you learned about the company at the company while working for the contractor is likely illegal;
  4. Your company may allocate you to the website and you will then be much closer to a "double billing" situation;
  5. It certainly doesn't sound good to your company to meet your career needs via a contractor

And... it's just sketchy? People try to not hire people who do sketchy things that are hard to give a straight explanation for.

I sympathize with you honestly -- it shouldn't be this hard to convince your company to give you more work and pay you more for it. Which raises the question: why have you been ineffective at convincing your company to give you more work and pay you more for it at a better rate than they get elsewhere? This sounds like a business skill that you are missing.

As for "ethics", although it's analogous to a fairly normal moonlighting situation, it will inevitably be duplicitous and put you in situations where the ethical thing to do may necessitate being forthright about some things you are carefully trying to keep secret. I don't think the "double billing" aspect of the question is the ethical problem.

  • I tend to agree, it IS sketchy – Kilisi Mar 9 '17 at 23:08
  • It is sketchy, and thank you for some well defined reasons. I didn't even think of #3 as an issue, but a bonus (as the knowledge of the company could help the contractor complete it faster). For being ineffective: that's likely. I have a lot of projects to do and so does everyone else, so all of us devoting a lot of time to another one isn't quite something the company wants to do, and they also want some things that may take us longer to go faster as the outside company has done it before. Most of us in IT see it as slower because it takes a lot of internal knowledge that we'd have to teach. – Alec Gordon Mar 9 '17 at 23:47
  • So I was trying to think of a way that would speed it along, get rid of some bloat through communication (by directly working on the contractor team instead of wait through correspondence), and see what it would be possible to get away with at the same time. – Alec Gordon Mar 9 '17 at 23:49

Any work you did on the website would be working for Company B, not Company A. Regardless of you working for Company A, they are paying Company B for the work. Therefore any work you do on the website falls under the remit of working for Company B only.

Therefore billing Company A for work you are doing for Company B would be fraudulent.


Offer your boss to do overtime job, it would be a lot more ethical.

In the comment you tell they want to outsource it to go a little faster. I have difficulty to think that they didn't offered you overtime at first, are you sure you can actually make that project faster ? as for me your management think not.

  • Overtime isn't available in my exact situation, but thanks for the suggestion! – Alec Gordon Mar 9 '17 at 23:51

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