Can you fire a worker who is moonlighting for a competitor?

You've gotta be kidding me!" That was Maintenance Foreman Pete Maddock's reaction upon learning that Mechanic First Grade Mel Jarmon was employed part time by one of the company's competitors across town.
By Raymond Dreyfack October 1, 1998

You’ve gotta be kidding me!” That was Maintenance Foreman Pete Maddock’s reaction upon learning that Mechanic First Grade Mel Jarmon was employed part time by one of the company’s competitors across town.

“Hey, gimmie a break,” Jarmon pleaded. “My daughter’s starting college in the fall; I need the extra dough.”

“I sympathize with your problem. But the company has a strict and clearly stated policy about being employed by competitors. No dice.”

“I can’t see what difference it could make. I’m only a carpenter. It’s not like anyone’s gonna tell me company secrets or expose me to confidential stuff.”

Maddock shrugged. “I don’t make the rules. If you want to moonlight that’s up to you. But get yourself a part time job with a noncompeting company.”

“But — “

“No buts. It’s either them or us.”

Jarmon refused to give in. “I know my rights. We’ll see about that.”

Question : Can Jarmon be forced to make an either/or choice?

Appleton’s verdict: Plant Engineer Fred Appleton supported the foreman’s mandate. “There’s a good and valid purpose behind that rule,” he told Maddock. “It makes no difference what part-time job an employee holds. In the competitor’s plant he sees and hears things. He’s in a position to ask questions he shouldn’t ask, and answer questions he shouldn’t answer. You can tell Jarmon the option holds: Either them or us.”

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