What control does an employer have over a worker after work hours and away from the job? In Texas, as in most states, the employer can have a great deal of control, if it wishes. We are an “at will” state in Texas, as are most states. In an at-will state, an employer can fire a worker for any reason, so long as the reason does not violate any discrimination statute. Unless some law exists to limit what the employer can do, the employer can do as it pleases. There is no law that prevents an employer from requiring a worker to do or not do something on his/her own time. So, when Capt. Shawn Ury says the City of San Antonio was wrong to tell him he cannot work a second job after hours, that does not make a lot of sense.
As a union member, he may have different rights. The Collective Bargaining Agreement may have some limitation on what the City can do or not do regarding union member after hours. But, absent some provision in the CBA, the City can indeed tell him he cannot work a second job. The only enforcement mechanism is to discipline him and perhaps, terminate him. But, sure, they an ask him to do anything that does not conflict with discrimination statutes or various penal statutes. According to the San Antonio Express-News, Capt. Ury has had a hearing in front of an arbitrator regarding this issue. The ultimate decision is up to the arbitrator. But, in Texas, yes indeed, an employer can tell an employee not to work a second job – or not to wear a green shirt or whatever- on his/her off-time. The employee, after all, can always choose to quit. See San Antonio Express News report.