Moonlighting: Boon for Employees, Bane for Employers?
| Case Code: HROB242
Case Length: 10 Pages
Pub Date: 2023
Teaching Note: Available
| Price: Rs.300
Organization: Best Buy Co., Inc.
Industry: Technology & Communications
Themes: Career Management, Human Capital, Work from Home
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts
The case discusses how the concept of moonlighting gained prominence during the Covid-19 pandemic which started in March 2020. The lockdowns spurred by Covid-19 forced companies in several sectors such as Information Technology (IT), financial services, and e-commerce, to come out with remote working models which required employees to work from home (WFH). Working from home left the employees with ample free time, thus motivating them to take up secondary jobs.
While employees looked at moonlighting as a means to earn more money, pursue a passion, advance career opportunities, or build networks and were in favor of it, most employers were against the practice. Several IT majors in India such as Wipro Limited, Infosys Limited, Tata Consultancy Services, IBM, etc., frowned upon moonlighting as they felt it was unethical and violated the integrity of the company.
On the other hand, there were some other sectors who were all for moonlighting. In August 2022, Swiggy, an online food ordering and delivery platform in India, announced its moonlighting policy, which encouraged its employees to take up side hustles. Some other employers opined that employees should be free to do what they liked outside working hours, provided there was no conflict of interest.
Many industry experts believed that firing employees for moonlighting or threatening to terminate their contract could backfire on the employers as they would not be able to attract a diverse talent pool. Some critics felt that moonlighting was unethical as it could result in the employees creating a conflict of interest with their competitors, impact their productivity, and even cause Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues and data breaches. In light of these challenges, what should companies against moonlighting do to tackle the ethical concerns arising out of the fact that they have access to sensitive and confidential data of their clients? Some analysts believe that moonlighting is here to stay. In this scenario, should employers make peace with moonlighting, considering it more as a disruptive work model and develop hybrid structures which would enable employees to moonlight? How should HR managers devise moonlighting policies which would encourage employees to be transparent with their primary employers about their side hustle?
The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:
- Understand moonlighting and the ethical and legal dimensions of it.
- Analyze the advantages and disadvantages of moonlighting from an employee and employer perspective respectively.
- Evaluate how employers can prevent employees from moonlighting in critical sectors.
- Analyze how employers can devise policies which enable employees to moonlight ethically in industries where there is no conflict of interest.
Why employees were for moonlighting?
Why employers were against moonlighting?
Legal Vs Ethical Debate on Moonlighting
The Road Ahead
Dual employment; secondary job; conflict of interest; violation of integrity; work culture; talent pool; employment contract; human capital; Ethical Moonlighting; confidentiality breaches; Intellectual Property Rights; unethical practice; remote working model; hybrid structure; gig economy
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