By Mickko Mendoza
"To the Moon"
The COVID-19 pandemic introduced us to so much things, not only on our personal life but also in our work life. Since the start of pandemic, companies initiated the work from home arrangement, skeleton workforce, and telecommuting. These work arrangements allows the employees to work other than the regular workplace or authorizes the employees to not physically report in the office.
With this, the company or immediate leader may not be able to control the time and work of the employees and may not know the employee’s whereabouts. Worse, the employee was able to secure a second job, whether part-time or full-time, or in “moonlighting”.
What is moonlighting?
According to Cambridge Dictionary, moonlighting is “the act of working at an extra job, especially without telling your main employer”; or “paid work that you do in addition to your normal job, especially without telling your employer”.
In Capitol Wireless, Inc. vs. Carlos Antonio Balagot, G.R. No. 169016, 31 January 2007, Balagot started working as collector in Capitol Wireless, Inc. (CWI) on September 16, 1987. His duties required him to work outside of the office so the company assigned to him a motorcycle as service vehicle for which it shouldered expenses for gasoline and maintenance. However, unknown to CWI, since 1992, Balagot also started working and had been concurrently employed with Contractual Concepts,Inc. that assigned him to render “messengerial” services to China Bank. So when the Human Resources Director of CWI saw Balagot, to his surprise, at the head office of China Bank at about 3:35 p.m. of May, 9, 2000, he recommended the immediate termination from employment of Balagot.
The Court held that, there is no denying that taking on double job per se is not illegal as extra income would go a long way for an ordinary worker like herein complainant. The only limitation is where one job overlaps with the other in terms of time and/or poses a clear case of conflict of interest as to the nature of business of complainant’s two employers. CWI has all the right and reason to cry foul as this is a clear case of moonlighting and using the company’s time, money and equipment to render service to another company.
The unauthorized use of company time and company vehicle is a valid ground for dismissal. An employee cannot serve himself and his employer at the same time all at the expense of the latter. It would be unfair to compensate an employee who does not devote his time and effort to his employer.
One of the management prerogatives is to prescribe reasonable rules and regulations or conduct of its business and to provide disciplinary measures in order to implement said rules and to assure that the same would be complied with. If you cross the line, definitely, you will be held responsible.