Written up because I talked about wages?

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Written up because I talked about wages?

My boss told me that I would be written up if I discussed my wages with other employees and that I was to report anyone that I heard discussing their wages as well. Isn’t this illegal? What are my options if I am afraid of retaliation?

Asked on December 10, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, this action is perfectly permissable on your company's part. The fact is that most work relationships are "at will", which means that a business can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. This includes the restriction that you describe. Accordingly, you can either accept it, defy your employer but risk termination, or quit. That having been said, there are some excepetions to the above: if such action contitutes some for of legally actionable discrimination (which it does not appear to); is prohibited under the terms of an employment contract or union agreement; or is a violation of your rights under the National Labor Relations Act, which in part protects the rights of employees to engage in “concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection" (e.g. if you were trying to unionize). 


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