Nowadays, people usually consider talking about money inappropriate or even forbidden subject. This unwritten rule is especially predominant at work environment, where your salary basically determinates your value and affects how other coworkers perceive you.

In today’s culture, your sense of self-worth is usually related to the amount of money you earn. Money questions often involve feelings such as success, shame, failure, or fair, so it’s no wonder why this matter is so delicate.

However, salary discussions among peers aren’t always black and white. There are some situations when you should put these inner conflicts aside and speak clearly, while on the other hand, there are some cases when it’s better to play smart and not look into other’s business.

Learn when it’s time to make a move and when it’s time to lower your voice, as well as what is the legal perspective on transparently talking about your wages at work.

What does the law say

As the National Labor Relations Act states, private-sector employees have the right to discuss work-related matters, and employers can’t forbid the discussion of salary and other conditions among employees. Therefore, your interests are protected by the federal government, even if your boss would prefer you keep the information about your payroll confidential.

On the other side, this doesn’t mean that you gain access to salary details. Your colleagues are the ones who can give you that information, and it’s up to them whether they want to reveal it or not. Likewise, the human resources department isn’t obliged to provide you insights on others coworkers’ salary.

Why should you discuss it

Like everything in life, it depends on the reason you raise a question. If it’s for a good cause, then it’s perfectly legit to talk transparently with your peers about salaries. For instance, when you want to ask for a raise and negotiate for a better wage, it would be good to have some possible range.

However, Susan Livingston, an expert on psychology, points out: “When you compare yourself to others, don’t draw conclusions based on just salary information. Take into consideration the level of experience, additional credentials, projects or other working conditions of that person”.

Also, it is right to share the details about your wage, if you think that some of your colleagues are underpaid and that it will help them ensure better terms.

Transparent discussions of salaries among coworkers is an effective way to fight pay inequity. Not only will it promote workplace equality, but it will also put you in a better position when negotiating work terms.

Why shouldn’t you discuss it

The reason you shouldn’t discuss your salary with your coworkers is usually your discovery. Janet Clarkson, an HR professional at reviews and my assignment help review, explains: “When you find out that you are underpaid, it can be demoralizing, and as a consequence, it could reflect on your work performance. Also, you could start feeling resentful and jealous, which could have a negative impact on your teamwork and future collaborations.

Besides, when you ask for somebody’s paycheck figure, you may put them in an awkward position where they would have to lie and feel uncomfortable, so think twice whom you ask this information and whether it will be worth it.

Last but not least, maybe your boss wouldn’t be happy about your inquiries and you may get in trouble. Especially if your employer had explicitly told you not to talk about salary information. Fortunately, you can’t get fired for discussing salaries, but your boss could make your life worse at work.

How to have the talk

After questioning your reasons why you need to discuss salaries, you will come to a decision if it’s the right move in your career. If you realized that these insights could help you achieve your goals, then it’s time to have a little chat with your colleagues.

Keep in mind that this conversation doesn’t happen during working hours, instead discuss it over a lunch break or after work. That way, you won’t risk being interrupted or eavesdropped by other peers.

Also, make sure you talk with trustworthy coworkers who will keep your information for themselves. Maybe it would be a good idea to discuss a salary with somebody who doesn’t work in your company anymore.

To conclude

As you can see, unless it isn’t explicitly mentioned in your work agreement or company’s handbook, the law doesn’t prevent you from discussing salaries with coworkers.

Make sure you use this right for good and in appropriate situations when you can benefit the most. Otherwise, don’t waste your words.