This page provides guidance on drafting outside employment policies for local government agencies in Washington State, including local policy examples.
It appears to be legally permissible for a public employer in the state of Washington to impose reasonable limitations on off-duty employment by public employees. There is at least one case in Washington that has upheld a restriction on outside employment by a public employer, Mackey v. Graham (1983). In Mackey the court upheld a reasonable restriction on off-duty employment by certain employees of the State Auditor. While this case does not uphold the right of a public employer to restrict all outside employment for all public employees, it does appear to approve reasonable restrictions on outside employment.
Most jurisdictions appear to have provisions on outside employment; many have requirements to notify a superior. Many policies are worded similarly to the example below:
Employees shall not directly or indirectly engage in any outside employment of financial interest which may conflict with the best interests of the city/county or interfere with the employee's ability to perform his/her assigned job. Examples include, but are not limited to, outside employment which:
- Prevents the employee from being available for work beyond normal working hours, such as emergencies or peak work periods, when such availability is a regular part of the employee's job.
- Is conducted during the employee's work hours.
- Utilizes city/county telephones, computers, supplies or any other resources, facilities or equipment.
- Is employment with a firm which has contracts with or does business with the city/county.
- May reasonably be perceived by members of the public as a conflict of interest or otherwise discredit public service.
An employee who chooses to have an additional job, contractual commitment or self-employment, may do so provided they obtain prior written approval from his/her employing official (mayor, city manager, administrator, department head, etc.).
Examples of Local Policies