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Some background: I worked at a small startup in Utah for the last year and half. We were recently acquired, and we were told that we'd have our offer letters sent to us and that we could negotiate when we received our letters.

However, the company that acquired us (our new employer) said that I can't talk about my offer with anyone else, and that if I do they can revoke my job offer. The offer they sent me was far below median salary for that position here in Utah, and with their acquisition, it would literally be overseeing about 10x the amount of work that I was before (addition of new platforms and customers, etc...).

Is this legal? Some Google searching has inclined me to think 'no', but it's the part about them not yet being my employer that I'm not sure about.

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  • Knowing your co-worker's offered salary wouldn't really help when negotiating for a better offer (if they were okay with you discussing this). However, being able to say "To replace me is going to cost you X$ and I can go out and get that, so you need to offer me more.", or "I will bring in X$ value by the increased work load, so you need to offer me more" are helpful. – JJohnston Feb 22 '18 at 18:28
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Can your employer legally stop you from sharing how much you make with coworkers or family? Probably not. I've certainly never heard of such legislation anywhere in the US or Canada.

Can they fire you for doing so? Probably. Because that is probably a clause in your employment contract which they can legally act on.

That being said, we're not lawyers, and you should contact one if you have any major misgivings.

  • I'm in the process of contacting a lawyer about this, but I'm not sure I'll be able to even get a consultation by Friday, which is I think part of the reason they're trying to push me along so hard. As far as I know, employers can't fire you here in the states for discussing compensation, it's the fact that I'm not yet employed there that makes it a weird gray area. Thank you! – Dylan Lott Feb 21 '18 at 21:34
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    @DylanLott, they can however let you go for no stated reason at all and there are no rules I am aware of requiring them to make you an offer at all. – HLGEM Feb 21 '18 at 22:19
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    In the USA its a form of protected speech to discuss you wages and t&C's – Neuromancer Feb 22 '18 at 1:12
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It may be legal for them to have a policy like this in Utah as long as they don't explicitly outline the punishment for violation. See below. Several states have laws that explicitly protect wage discussion and forbid wage secrecy policies, but Utah is not one of them. Emphasis is mine.

Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects non-supervisory employees who are covered by the Act from employer retaliation when they discuss their wages ... Nevertheless, the NLRA does not address all situations where employers prohibit or discourage employees from discussing their pay with their colleagues.

There are some details in this document, but it also includes information about an Obama executive order (that only applied to Federal contract workers), which may no longer be up-to-date with the new executive working to reverse most of his predecessor's orders. This is not a political stance, merely an observation.

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    I believe that executive order only applies to federal government employees & contractors. – brhans Feb 21 '18 at 21:33

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