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Are You Allowed To Talk To Coworkers About Your Wages?


Many of us have always been taught not to discuss our finances with others. This is often seen as taboo, and when this type of talk is discouraged, you might feel uncomfortable bringing it up. However, when it comes to discussing your salary with coworkers, you might think that doing so could actually get you in trouble. There are many misconceptions regarding speaking to coworkers about your wages, and they could end up harming employees. Brown Kwon & Lam can help explain.

Why Is Discussing Your Wages Important?

If you can’t openly discuss your wages with coworkers, you aren’t aware of how much others earn for similar work. When information like this isn’t shared, it can be easy for certain employees to be discriminated against and accept lower wages without realizing they’re making less than they deserve. For example, a female employee may be under the impression that she is receiving fair pay for the work she does, only to learn that a male employee who does the same job is receiving a significant amount more than her.

Without discussing wages, employees are kept in the dark regarding what their work is actually worth and have a harder time advocating for better pay. A lack of transparency in the workplace can make it easier for some employees to be taken advantage of or discriminated against without even knowing that it’s occurring. Preventing employees from discussing their pay does little to benefit the employees, but does help discriminatory behaviors from going unnoticed.

Can You Get in Trouble for Discussing Your Wages?

Some employees may think that they aren’t allowed to discuss their wages or may have been expressly told this by their employer. It’s important for employees to know that your employer can’t prohibit you from discussing your wages with others. This is a right that you have under the National Labor Relations Act of 1953. The NLRA gives employees several rights that are intended to help them improve their wages and working conditions. Among these rights is the right for employees to engage in concerted activity, which includes two or more employees discussing their wages.

While most employees in the private sector are protected by the NLRA, there are other protections for employees who work under federal contractors. In 2014, President Obama signed an Executive Order that prohibited federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their salaries with other employees. This Executive Order aimed to help stop pay secrecy in the workplace and prevent discriminatory practices.

Get Help for Pay Discrimination

Learning that you’re being paid unfairly at work can be extremely upsetting. You work hard for your employer, only to find out that the quality of your work might not be what your pay is based on. If you have a reason to believe you’re experiencing pay discrimination in your workplace, you need to get help so that something can be done about it. At Brown Kwon & Lam, we understand how important it is for employees to know their worth and be paid fairly. We fight for employees in New York City who are being paid unfairly due to their association with a protected class.

Contact us today to consult with a New York City pay discrimination lawyer who can help you get the fair pay you deserve.