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Can my current employer tell me where I can/can't work during my off time? IT was not stated at point of hire or in handbook.

Chicago, IL |

My company is trying to tell me I can't have a second job at a specific restaurant because they have a personal vendetta against the company all of the sudden. It was never announced or made known, there is nothing about it in handbook. Employees at my current job all hold second jobs and it has never been an issue before. I feel my current GM is jealous of other establishment and it's GM and company. She is annoyed that I want to work there, and says that I may have to choose, even though scheduling will not conflict.

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Attorney answers 4


Unless you have a written contract, you can be fired for any reason or no reason at all. You can quit for any reason or no reason at all. The foregoing is true because Illinois is an "at-will" employment State. There are exceptions to this, but not based on what you've described. I suspect the handbook you referenced has a specific disclaimer stating that it is not a contract of employment.

Your employer may have terrible reasons to tell you where and where not to work. Regretfully, it doesn't matter. If it is a comptetitor, their reasoning is a bit more understandable.

Good luck to you.

This response is being provided for information purposes only and does not constitute an attorney client relationship. Furthermore, I am only licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois. While there are oftentimes similarities between States' laws, there can also be large differences. You should not rely on this response as legal advice and are highly encouraged to speak to an attorney licensed in your State for an accurate legal answer.


Your current employer cannot really force you not to work at a certain other place. However, Illinois is an at will employment state. Your employer can hire or fire you for any reason or, for no reason, or even for a bad reason. Unless you are a union employee or a member of a legally protected class, such a a member of a certain race or religion and have been discriminated because of your membership in that class, then you have no protection.

The bottom line is this - You need to decide whether keeping your present job is worth it. If not, go take the second job and look around for another primary job when/if you get fired.


As stated , your employer cannot force you to do anything but can fire you for nothing. Decide which job is more important, work there and move on.
I see few or no real legal imolications.

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They can't force you to but they can fire you. However, you stated that others work second jobs. If you are being treated differently than others of a different race, gender, or other protected category perhaps the employer's reason they are giving you isn't the real reason. If that's not the case then you probably don't have any protection should they fire you for working somewhere they don't like. Though it's unclear that you have to tell them where you work in the first place...

My answering this question does not form an attorney-client relationship. Always retain a qualified attorney before taking any action. My office offers free consultations.