Boss Slammed After 'Fishing' for Information Over Worker's New Job Salary

A viral post on Reddit's popular r/antiwork forum has sparked debate this week, with users slamming a company that asked a departing worker to disclose their new salary.

Redditor u/Agile_Imagination_40, who is from British Columbia, Canada, shared a screenshot of the conversation after they put in their two-week notice at work.

With more than 45,000 upvotes, the post has enraged the internet who have jumped to condemn the employer's response.

Full text message from boss
A full picture of the text conversation between the departing employee and her boss that has sparked conversation online. Agile_Imagination_40

In the screenshot, the message exchange is between the Redditor and a contact labeled McDonald's, one text reads: "Hey Janette. I'm going to put in my two weeks today," and the reply says: "Ohhh damn, u have a new job?"

After the leaving employee confirms they have been offered a new job, the current manager wrote: "Alright, I just need to know where and how much you're gonna make for HR reasons."

The Redditor leaving their job was taken aback by the message and took to the r/antiwork forum to ask if this was allowed.

"Maybe they're fishing for info so they can apply there too," said one commenter. "I'm still not sure I'd be willing to tell them unless we were friends on some level."

"Tell them it's against policy to discuss wages," said another Reddit user in response.

Wages in the U.S. are the eighth highest in the world, with the average gross annual wage per full-time employee in the U.S. recorded as $69,392 in 2020, according to WorldData.info. Meanwhile, Canada ranks with the 19th highest wages with an average annual salary of $43,540 per year.

Howard Levitt, senior partner at Levitt Sheikh, practices employment law and labor law in Canada. He told Newsweek: "An employee has no obligation whatsoever to their employer their new salary. There is no legal reason for them to ask or requirement to tell them—it's that simple."

Levitt continued to explain that in Canada: "The only thing an employee can legally ask is where your new job is. This is purely so that if you are going to a competitor, they can ask you to leave without notice to protect any confidential information."

Other users on the viral post suggested a few responses the user could give. One commenter joked: "I work at nunya, nunya business," while another wrote: "My response would be: 'I can't tell you because of HR reasons at my new job.' Nonsense!"

"I'd just make something up," suggested another commenter.

"Telling them is for their benefit only," suggested another commenter. One Reddit user shared a little bit of inside knowledge: "HR person here! That's not a normal question and you can decline to answer. They probably want to prove on some level that there is a retention problem and if you are leaving for more money—it helps them make a case for change."

One commenter laid out all of the possible reasons for the employer's line of questioning and wrote: "Devil's advocate, they want to make an effective counter offer. More likely, they are just being obnoxious and nosy. Either way, you don't have to tell them."

Newsweek has reached out to McDonald's Canada for comment.

Boss text and pay check
A picture of the text received by a leaving employee that has sparked outrage on Reddit, left, and a file picture of someone holding a pay check, right. Agile_Imagination_40/Reddit & AndreyPopov/Getty Images