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You Tell Your Co-Workers Your Salary. Your Employer Retaliates.

October 1, 2020 Wrongful Termination & Retaliation

This Is Illegal Under the NLRA

It’s an unspoken rule in many workplaces, and sometimes a spoken one: you’re not supposed to discuss the terms and conditions of your employment with your co-workers. Especially your pay.

But it’s illegal for employers to prevent you from doing this, or punish you if you do.

Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), employees are allowed to talk about working conditions and cooperate to get their employers to improve them—whether or not they’re unionized.

There are some exceptions. For instance, your employer may be able to prove they have legitimate business reasons for preventing you from talking about your pay with co-workers. And employees in the railroad and airline industries are exempt from these rules.

However, under most circumstances, the NLRA protects both union and nonunion employees from retaliation when they discuss the terms of their employment.

Retaliation for Discussing Your Terms of Employment With Colleagues

Your employer is not allowed to retaliate against you for having these conversations with your co-workers. But this is unfortunately not unusual.

Retaliation can be defined as any action that negatively affects your job, as a result of an action you took that is legally protected. Some examples include:

  • Firing you for discussing your pay or working conditions
  • Demoting you or taking away job duties
  • Changing your schedule so it is less convenient
  • Giving you a negative performance review
  • Making the workplace hostile through abusive comments or actions
  • Isolating you, such as by moving your desk away from colleagues
  • Reducing your pay or benefits
  • Not promoting you to a position you’re qualified for

When Employer Policy Forbids You From Discussing Terms of Employment 

Some employers specifically spell out policies in which you are not allowed to have certain conversations with co-workers. These policies often don’t hold up in court.

In general, employers are allowed to limit some things—especially if they can prove a legitimate business reason to do so. 

However, their policies cannot be so broad as to disallow activities that are protected by labor laws at the federal level, such as talking about your working conditions with colleagues.

What Should You Do if You’re Being Targeted for Retaliation?

If your employer has taken retaliatory action against you for discussing the terms of your employment with co-workers, you may have recourse in court.

To find out, get in touch with a qualified employment lawyer. A knowledgeable attorney can help determine whether your rights have been violated, collect documentation, and stand up for your interests in court.

Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at for a free, confidential consultation today. 

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.