When your employer discourages conversations about pay, watch out

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One of the biggest social taboos at work is discussing your rate of pay with your co-workers — and that suits your employer just fine.

In fact, many employers have openly discouraged employees from discussing their wages with each other — despite the fact that it’s illegal to do so. Since many employees don’t realize that the practice is illegal, they comply.

So, why would an employer want to keep the company employees from talking about their wages? One major reason is that the employer doesn’t want any obvious “wage gaps” to come to light. While there has long been attention brought to the wage gap between men and women in the workplace, there’s another wage gap that isn’t discussed as often: The gap that exists between the wages of black women and white women.

Even though black women have historically been in the labor force longer than white women, the median income for a black woman who worked full-time in 2017 was just a little more than $36,000. That’s 21% lower than the median income of white women. Some of that disparity might be attributed to the fact that black women are often relegated to lower-income jobs in the service industry, but it is unlikely to explain the whole gap or capture the entire picture.

If you’re a black woman whose employer discourages discussions about wages, bonuses and job perks between employees, you probably owe it to yourself to find out why. If you suspect that you’re being paid less than your white counterparts or are receiving less compensation as a whole through bonuses and perks due to your race, you probably aren’t wrong.

Find out more about how a workplace discrimination claim works by browsing our site further or contact our office directly to discuss your claim.