Written up because I talked about wages?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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


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

Answered 6 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). 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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