Employee on family leave: Is it ok to moonlight?

Assistant Maintenance Supervisor Joe Roth approached his boss' desk shaking his head. "You won't believe it," he said. "I just learned Frank Simmons is working part time at Pete's Service Station on Collins Avenue.
By Raymond Dreyfack September 1, 1999

Assistant Maintenance Supervisor Joe Roth approached his boss’ desk shaking his head.

“You won’t believe it,” he said. “I just learned Frank Simmons is working part time at Pete’s Service Station on Collins Avenue.”

“You gotta be kidding,” Maintenance Supervisor Clay Benning replied. “Simmons is on family leave.”

A mechanic on the maintenance crew, Simmons had been granted leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to care for his wife, who had undergone surgery.

“What are you gonna do about it?” Roth asked.

“Get on the horn and find out what’s going on.”

When Simmons answered the phone, Benning asked him to confirm or deny the news. “That’s right, I’ve been working there 4 hr a day.”

“I thought you were on family leave taking care of your wife,” Benning said.

“I am. Martha doesn’t need me all day long, and we can use the bread.”

“I can’t sit still for that, Joe. You know how tight we are in the department. The least you could do is come into work if you have the time.”

“It takes me 45 min to drive there. Pete’s is 20-min away.”

“I don’t like the smell of this Joe. I’ll have to look into it. Working for someone else while on family leave doesn’t sound kosher to me.”

Question: Is Simmons within his rights moonlighting while on family leave?

Freeman’s verdict: “FMLA doesn’t specify that 100% of an employee’s time has to be devoted to family care,” Plant Engineer Herb Freeman told Benning. “Since the company has no policy restricting secondary employment, Simmons is within his rights in working part time.”