There are many employees who feel that they are not supposed to discuss their wages. They may even believe that doing so is prohibited.
Not talking about one’s wages freely can cause some problems. For example, maybe your employer hasn’t been paying you properly for your overtime hours. You want to know if this is something that is just happening to you or if it’s happening to everyone. But if other workers believe that they’re not supposed to discuss their pay rates or how much they earn for overtime, they may not want to have these conversations. As a result, it’s important for all workers to better understand their rights under the law.
In California, employees can always discuss wages
Under the law in California, you have an explicit right to discuss your wages. This right is codified in the California Equal Pay Act. That is not all that it does, as it also works to create equal pay for individuals of different genders who are doing the same work, and things of this nature. This law is always being adjusted to make it apply in ways that protect the rights of workers in California.
One of the most recent adjustments to the law codified the restriction on employers concerning “wage talk.” Specifically, the law states that employers cannot stop their workers from talking about wages. Odds are that your boss has not explicitly told you not to talk about pay, as this would be illegal. But there are still some employers who do this, or who strongly suggest that discussing wages is frowned upon. Remember that you do have a right to these conversations as an employee and that it is illegal to be retaliated against – by being fired or demoted, for example – if you do discuss your wages with your co-workers or anyone else you choose.
In the example above, you would be allowed to ask other employees if they are getting proper overtime pay. Whether they are or are not, if you aren’t, you may have legal options that you can use to seek proper compensation for the wages that you’re missing. If you haven’t been paid properly or haven’t been paid on time, don’t be afraid to talk to your co-workers about your situation and don’t be afraid to seek legal guidance either.