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Can I Discuss My Pay Rate or Salary with My Co-Workers?

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Encouraging open conversations about salaries contributes to a more transparent and equitable work environment. Employees sharing information about their compensation can help identify wage disparities and potential issues, leading to a fairer distribution of resources within the workplace.

In the realm of workplace transparency and employee rights, the discussion around whether employees are legally allowed to talk about their salaries with co-workers has been a longstanding and often debated topic. Understanding the legal landscape surrounding this issue is crucial for employees seeking to navigate their rights and responsibilities within the workplace.

The Legal Foundation 

The cornerstone of employees’ rights to discuss their pay with co-workers in the United States lies in the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Enacted in 1935 as a part of the New Deal, the NLRA protects most employees’ rights to engage in concerted activities for mutual aid or protection, including discussions about wages and working conditions. While the NLRA provides broad protection, it’s essential to note that not all employees are covered.

Exceptions and Limitations 

The NLRA primarily applies to private-sector employees. Government employees, including federal, state, and local workers, are generally not covered by the NLRA. Certain other categories of workers, such as independent contractors, supervisors, and agricultural laborers, fall outside the scope of the NLRA. It is important to speak to an attorney to determine whether your job is covered by the NLRA before relying on the NLRA’s protections.

The NLRA and the Right to Discuss Salaries 

Under Section 7 of the NLRA, most employees are explicitly granted the right to engage in activities aimed at collective bargaining or other mutual aid and protection. This protection extends to discussions about wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment. In practical terms, it means that company policies attempting to restrict or prohibit employees from discussing their salaries with co-workers are generally considered unlawful under the NLRA.

Company Policies

Despite legal protections, some companies may still have policies discouraging or even prohibiting employees from discussing salaries. It’s crucial for employees to be aware of their company’s policies and, if necessary, seek clarification from the human resources department. Companies should be mindful of the legal framework and ensure that their policies align with the NLRA.


In conclusion, the legal landscape supports most employees’ rights to discuss their salaries with co-workers as protected under the NLRA. This protection underscores the importance of transparency in the workplace and empowers employees to advocate for fair compensation. Navigating these legal waters requires awareness of company policies, understanding individual rights, and fostering open communication for the betterment of the work environment.

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ADVERTISING ONLY: The information on this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

Past results obtained by Biller & Kimble, LLC are no guarantee of future results. Each case or matter is different and must be judged on its own merits.