Woman Fired From New Job For Discussing Wages With Coworkers Sparks Fury

A woman from Illinois was fired on her second day of work for discussing wages with a coworker—and the internet is outraged.

In a post shared on Reddit last Saturday, her husband, who goes by the username u/Trillanasi, told the u/antiwork subreddit about the incident, asking for advice on how to act on it.

"Yesterday at work my wife's new coworkers asked her how much she made and when she told them they found out she made more than them," the post, which has so far reached 41.5k upvotes and almost 3000 comments, read.

"Fast forward to today when my wife gets to work she finds out that one of the new coworkers quit over the wages and they fired my wife on the spot for discussing wages. What do we do? We live in Illinois" u/Trillanasi further explained.

Female employee packing her belongings to leave
A stock image shows a female employee packing her belongings to leave. The story of a woman fired over discussing wages with a coworker has sparked online outrage. Getty Images

According to the National Labor Relations Board, Under the National Labor Relations Act(NLRA), employees have the right to communicate with other employees at their workplace about their wages.

The Illinois Department of Labor says that an employer cannot prohibit its employees from disclosing their own salaries, benefits or other compensation to other individuals, and if you believe your right was breached you should call the Illinois Department of Labor at the Equal Pay Hotline 866-372-4365.

Most users sided with the couple, and some even spelled out ways to potentially sue the company.

One user, Popejubal commented: "Since I know you are angry enough about the fact that I discussed my wages with coworkers to fire me, I wanted to check to see if I was at least going to be paid for the hours that I did work on those two days."

Another user, pnutgallery16, answered: "This would be absolute gold. It also is worded in a way that if they say OP's Wife will get the wages and don't deny the other part, it's admission by omission.

Some people suggested the original poster and his wife get the reason for firing in writing.

SirEDCaLot commented: "If she can get it in writing, you guys may as well drive down and give her ex-boss a big kiss because you just got a payday." Max_W_ added: "Before they realize what they did was wrong, you should get in writing, from who fired her, the reason why."

While others suggested calling and recording. Dataeater said: "get her to beg for her job back, and record the call where she states she won't talk about her wages again, because they don't allow it. And see if they can confirm that she was fired for talking about wages."

Rumorofskin answered: "Can't, IL is a 2-party state, so audio recordings need consent from both people."

According to another user, TheDisapprovingBrit, there's also a more subtle way to get proof of the company''s alleged wrongdoing. "The best way to get an answer on the internet is not to ask, it's to post the wrong answer. That applies in other places too."

"I'd be tempted to go with "As you fired me because of my [protected class], can you please confirm that I will be paid for the two days I worked?" Make a suggestion that they'll want to correct, and you can have them assert the actual reason rather than relying on them just not correcting you," they continued.

Although most users were positive that the original poster and his wife had legal grounds for a lawsuit, others were more skeptical about it.

Kakareborn commented: "I have no idea how people think things like this would work. No company would reply to an email like that unless their morons. Companies have HR dep, Legal dep, they know how to protect themselves, it's unfortunate and sucks for OPs wife but if you are in a at-will state, be careful with what you do, the game is rigged against you".

Most states use a concept called "at-will employment," meaning that employers can fire workers for nearly any reason—or even no reason, according to the website of the Law Office of Yuriy Moshes.

Newsweek has reached out to u/Trillanasi for further comment.