Our office remains open to serve your important legal needs during these turbulent and challenging times. We are happy to schedule client consultations and client meetings by telephone or video-conference at your request.
Bryan E. Kuhn
Counselor at Law, P.C.
Business & Employment Law Attorney

Can your employer really ban you from disclosing your wages?

Companies have rules in their employee handbooks and contracts that impose limitations on what employees can do while on the job. One common restriction is that employees cannot talk about their wages or ask colleagues what they get paid. Many people take such restrictions seriously and refuse to discuss their compensation out of fear of punishment.

If your employer has a policy forbidding you from discussing your wages, they might have an ulterior motive for doing so. Not allowing employees to talk about what they make prevents them from discovering obvious and systemic discrimination in wages.

Can your employer really ban compensation conversations between colleagues?

Federal rules do not permit the enforcement of such clauses

Regardless of state and federal laws, the government cannot micromanage what individual companies include in their employment contracts. However, while companies can include inappropriate or even illegal clauses in contracts or requirements in handbooks, they will not be able to enforce them in court.

There are laws that forbid discrimination in wages and also company rules that prohibit employers from punishing workers who discuss their compensation. If your employer attempts to take punitive action against you due to the disclosure of your wages or initiating a discussion about compensation with another employee, you could fight them. If they fire you over a wage disclosure infraction, you could have grounds for a wrongful termination claim.

If you discover a significant and consistent discrepancy in whom they pay what amount based on gender, race or other protected characteristics, you and other co-workers might be able to bring a wage claim against the company.

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