Is it legal for my employer to tell employees not to discuss their wages with co-workers?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Stockton, CA

They claim to be an E.O.E., but they pay certain people more because of being related to a higher up in the company-even when that person is less qualified than others in same position. They rely on the fact that majority of employees are illegal;and therefore won't persue unfair wage suits, or wage discrimination on basis of sex and ethnicity. Also can a company hire a personal friend for a position and pay that person substantially more than everyone else? (Even though everyone has higher performance than them.)

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Neil Pedersen

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . To answer your specific question, yes an employer can so instruct its employees. It can also decide to pay everyone a different amount if it so desires, and it can pay a friend substantially more if it wishes. The only thing an employer cannot do is to pay different wages based on protected classes of people. For instance, paying men more than women because they are men, or paying Caucasians more than Hispanics because they are Caucasian.

    That is the nature of the employment relationship. The employer has great freedom to treat people differently as long as the different treatment is not based on unlawful discrimination against a protected class of people.

    I wish you the best of luck.

    This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed... more

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