Your Right to Discuss Wages
Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or the Act), employees have the right to communicate with other employees at their workplace about their wages. Wages are a vital term and condition of employment, and discussions of wages are often preliminary to organizing or other actions for mutual aid or protection.
If you are an employee covered by the Act, you may discuss wages in face-to-face conversations and written messages. When using electronic communications, like social media, keep in mind that your employer may have policies against using their equipment. However, policies that specifically prohibit the discussion of wages are unlawful.
You may have discussions about wages when not at work, when you are on break, and even during work if employees are permitted to have other non-work conversations. You have these rights whether or not you are represented by a union.
Protected conversations about wages may take on many forms, including having conversations about how much you and your colleagues and managers make, presenting joint requests concerning pay to your employer; organizing a union to raise your wages; approaching an outside union for help in bargaining with your employer over pay; and approaching the National Labor Relations Board for more information on your rights under the NLRA.
In addition, you have the right to discuss and engage in outside activity with other employees concerning public issues that clearly may affect your wages – for example, minimum wage or right-to-work laws. You may also discuss supporting employees who work elsewhere.
You also have the right not to engage in conversations or communications about your wages.
When you and another employee have a conversation or communication about your pay, it is unlawful for your employer to punish or retaliate against you in any way for having that conversation. It is also unlawful for your employer to interrogate you about the conversation, threaten you for having it, or put you under surveillance for such conversations. Additionally, it is unlawful for the employer to have a work rule, policy, or hiring agreement that prohibits employees from discussing their wages with each other or that requires you to get the employer’s permission to have such discussions. If your employer does any of these things, a charge may be filed against the employer with the NLRB.
If you have any questions about your rights under the National Labor Relations Act, please call us at 1-844-762-6572.
This page was posted by the Office of the General Counsel, and like other similar pages on nlrb.gov, it has not been reviewed or approved by the Board. The information contained here may be subject to unstated exceptions, qualifications, limitations, and it may be rendered unreliable without prior notice by changes in the law.