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Can an employer tell his employees that they are not allowed to speak to each other during work hours?

San Marcos, CA |

We recently go a new manager and she asked told the owner he didn't want us talking to each other because she didn't like it. We work in a warehouse and we get all our work done. we have always been able to speak to each other while we work without any problems but due to this new manager we are not allowed to speak. is there a law against this?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. No. If the employer wants you to work in absolute silence, it can make a rule and enforce it. Your choice is to find another job if you do not like it. That is the nature of the at will employment relationship.

    This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.

  2. A manager can tell his or her employees to do just about anything that does not specifically constitute a violation of law or public policy. While a rule against talking is certainly a bit harsh, it is not illegal nor does it run afoul of any public policy. Therefore, it's legal, and your options are to either do what your employer is asking or find other employment. I'm sorry.

    This answer is a general interpretation of the law and is not fact specific to your case. Likewise it does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should seek an attorney for a review of your specific facts and documents.

  3. My collegues are correct according to the facts you've given us. There are limits and exceptions as always, such as under the NLRA, but from the facts you've given it doesn't appear that those limits and exceptions apply.

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