Let's say I work for some company as programmer and I want to get some extra money by making some programmer consultancy during evenings. Do you think it is ethical that my employer requires me to inform him about such of my activities that I do in my free time? And do you think he should have a right to forbid me such activities?

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    yes, absolutely and without a doubt. Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 20:23
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    It's pretty common for employers to require you to report and get approved any side-jobs. The main goal is making sure there are no conflicts of interest, or that you are competing with them in any way.
    – David K
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 20:24
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    @JasonJ Perhaps, but we have a few hundred open ethics questions on here with a dedicated tag, and this might be one of those cases where discussing the legality of it would also be on topic (as that should be well within the scope of what someone in HR should know, but that will be location-dependent, obviously). Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 20:50
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    95% of the questions here are "matters of opinion". This isn't Stack Overflow where there typically is a hard "right or wrong" answer.
    – Chris E
    Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 21:29
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    @teego1967 you say he has absolutely no right, how can you be sure of that without seeing his contract of employment? My contract specifically states that any paid work I do for anyone other than my employer must be declared to my employer and must not cause competion or conflict of interest. I felt that was perfectly reasonable and signed it. As it happens, I do other work, my boss is fully aware of it and has no problem with it because it is in an area that has no overlap with my day job
    – Darren H
    Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 3:30

2 Answers 2


Ethics and legal are separate issues. If you are worried about legality then contact a professional.

From your boss's point of view it is also likely to be legal. There may be companies that could cause issues if you worked for them. A competitor, or something that would reflect badly on your employer.

I can understand you don't like the limitations on what you can do while not on your company time. It is not that your boss is trying to stifle you it is that he is making sure the best interests of the company are kept.

You should also make sure your performance doesn't dip while you are working in extra projects. It would be reasonable for your employer to be unhappy if your under performing due to having a side job.

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    +1 for that last paragraph. It's a very important point. I work a side job that my main employer is aware of. However I am careful to limit the amount of time I spend on it, as I need to be sharp and alert for my main job and working too late into the night can damage that, which in turn would affect my performance in my main job. I think my employer has every right to be aware of that, even if it wasn't specified in contract (which it is)
    – Darren H
    Commented Jul 8, 2017 at 3:35

While I can understand your employers point of view, in the end this is going to come down to whatever your employment contract (if any) says along with your local labour laws.

It may be that you signed something that says your employer has this right, or it may be that it was never mentioned and hence is not reasonable.

It also may also be that if your employer doesn't have a legitimate right that if you continue to do outside work you may find yourself looking for a new job.

In other words, if this is an issue then you should consult an employment lawyer and get a real answer.

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