You arrive at work one day and find out that your employer has posted a sign saying that you’re not allowed to discuss your wages. It says that you can’t talk about your pay with your fellow employees, supervisors or managers. Furthermore, it tells you that workers who break this rule will be terminated immediately since they talked about confidential information.
Naturally, all this makes you want to do is talk about your pay with your fellow employees. What is your company trying to hide? Why don’t they want you to have these discussions? But you’re also wondering if they can even legally prohibit you from doing this. Can they fire you for talking about your wages?
It is illegal to prevent these conversations
As you may have suspected, it doesn’t matter what your employer wrote on that sign. It is illegal for them to prevent you from talking to the other employees about your wages. They can make as many workplace rules as they want, but those do not overrule the law.
There are some minor exceptions or situations in which they may be able to prohibit these conversations. For instance, an employer is allowed to prohibit all conversations during times when workers are supposed to be working. If they’re concerned that the employees are simply standing around and talking, they can tell them to go back to work. But this has to apply to all conversations, not just conversations about pay and benefits, or it is still a violation of the employees’ rights.
If this has happened to you, or if you’ve even been fired for breaking a rule that your employer made illegally, take the time to consider all of your potential options.