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Can employees discuss their salaries?

On Behalf of | May 8, 2023 | Employment Law |

Co-workers talking about salaries has been perceived as “illegal” for some time. However, not only is it allowed, such discussions have helped many people know they are being paid less than their colleagues. The California Labor Commissioner’s Office has a mission to ensure every workplace gives employees a just day’s pay. But some employers may be doing this to some employees while others experience wage and hour violations.

Discussing salaries with your co-workers can provide you with adequate information. And here is what you should know.

Your employer should not prohibit you from doing so

It is generally unlawful for an employer to ask employees, either verbally or in writing, to avoid talking about salaries. You have the right to talk about wages with your co-workers, of course, those willing to participate in the conversation. 

Tips when discussing your salary 

While you may be protected, it may be wise to employ a few tips. They include: 

  • Inform your co-worker (s) why you want to talk about salaries, perhaps you want to negotiate a raise or create a salary transparency culture in the company. When a colleague knows you want to have the conversation for a crucial reason, they will be more willing to do so. 
  • Understand the rules. Even though your employer may not prohibit you from discussing salaries, they may have rules. Thus, reread your employment contract to avoid breaching it.
  • Talk to people you trust. A colleague may lie to you about their salary. It will be best to talk to someone you have established trust with.

These tips should protect you from making a colleague uncomfortable and breaching the company’s policies. 

If you are being paid less than your colleagues or your employer retaliated against you for discussing salaries, you should learn more about your case to protect your rights.