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How to Keep Side Jobs Legal

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

The days of just having one 9-to-5 job may be coming to an end. Almost everyone has some kind of side hustle on top of a regular job, if not multiple regular jobs. But as USA Today recently pointed out, even having a lemonade stand on the side can run afoul of the law. From permits and licenses to insurance and taxes, having a side job can be way more complicated than just going out and doing your thing.

On the other hand, small business owners now have to recognize that their employees might be moonlighting at another gig. This may not make them happy, especially if they feel the side gig is encroaching on or stealing from their business. But firing someone who has a side hustle isn't always the best option.

So here are three things for both employees and employers to think about when it comes to keeping side jobs legal.

1. Legal Questions About Running a Side Business

If you're the employee considering a side job, make sure you take into account any existing employment or non-disclosure agreements that may limit the amount of time you can work outside your main job, or the kind of information you can use or share. You'll also want to check on any permitting, licensing, zoning, or lease requirements for the side job, and, if you want to keep it legal, report your income properly and pay taxes as well.

2. 3 Ways to Legally Address Moonlighting Employees

And if you're the employer who discovered an employee's side job, you have options. You can protect your business through non-disclosure and non-compete agreements. And if an employee isn't violating those, a side gig may not be the worst thing. If it keeps your employees happy, it may mean they stick around for longer, doing more great work for you.

3. Avoid Joint Employment Lawsuits

With all the gigs, side gigs, and hustles going on, both employers and employees need to be careful about who is doing what work for whom, and how that work is being compensated. Joint employment is when an employee has two or more employers for the work that he or she is performing, and those distinctions become very important considering wage laws and income tax filings.

The side hustle might be here to stay -- just keep the hustle legal.

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