Many bosses make a rule that workers cannot tell each other how much they make and that workers can't talk about working conditions.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) says that workers have a right to work together for better pay and working conditions. If you can’t talk about whether you’re being paid fairly - or how you're being treated, you can’t work together to make changes.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Workers have a right to talk together about how much they are paid.
- You have the right to compare other working conditions (like breaks, whether coworkers are required to bring in a doctor’s note, how workers are disciplined for the same offense).
- You even have the right to talk about how much supervisors, managers, and owners earn.
- You have the right to compare wages and talk about working conditions whether you have a union or not.
- Rules that say you have to have manager approval or some special need for the information are not legal.
WHAT YOU CAN TALK ABOUT:
- discipline (write-ups, suspensions, getting fired, losing hours, getting bad assignments)
- former employees who lost their jobs
- rules and how they are enforced
- complaint/grievance procedure
- performance evaluations
- salary information, comparisons, and pay scales
WHAT YOU CANNOT DO:
- You can’t break confidentiality rules. If you know the salaries because you work in payroll or you have access to confidential company information, you can’t tell other workers about those workers’ salary rates.
- Your boss can make a rule limiting your conversation in customer areas or in front of customers.
If your company is treating workers fairly, why would they care if you talk about it? To check for yourself, call the National Labor Relations Board and ask for the Officer of the Day.
Find out which workers have these protections under the National Labor Relation Act, go to the page in the Resource Box on this page.
If your boss has a rule, or someone was disciplined for talking about wages and working conditions, you can file a claim with the National Labor Relations Board.