Worker Confronts Boss About Being The Lowest Paid Person On The Team — Is Told It’s ’Not An Appropriate Discussion For The Workplace’

If you can't talk about it at work, when are you supposed to talk about it?

worker confronting boss about pay fizkes / Shutterstock

People are struggling with incredible financial and socio-economic burdens today despite having full-time jobs, college degrees, and professional certifications. They sacrifice their well-being daily for a 9-to-5 job that hardly provides them with security, let alone comfort. 

It’s exactly why employees should never be degraded or feel inferior for prioritizing their pay — whether that be following up on pay stubs, reviewing their invoices, or advocating for themselves if they feel undervalued.  One employee, who wrote to employment expert Ben Askins for advice, admitted they were forced to “confront” their boss after learning they were severely underpaid.


The worker confronted her boss after learning she was ‘the lowest paid person’ on their team — only for them to argue it was ‘not an appropriate’ discussion for work. 

“Hi [boss], just found out I am the lowest paid in the whole team,” this employee wrote in a message to her boss, “that is despite the fact that I’ve been here the longest and also one of the most senior.” 



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Instead of mediating the situation or alluding to some kind of mistake — as Askins suggested would’ve been the “appropriate” response — this boss instead asked, “Who told you that?” 

“It’s weird how often they come out with that. It’s such a confirmation of guilt,” Askins added. “Mistakes do happen. But, to come back with ‘Who told you that’ is just weird."

Of course, the woman responded by telling her boss that “it didn’t matter” who told her because the truth was the same either way — she wasn’t being financially compensated for her worth at her company. It was not only unacceptable, but it was demeaning. 

However, her boss disagreed, responding with, “It absolutely does matter. This is not an appropriate discussion for a workplace.” It’s almost as if you can hear the collective gasp — from this employee, the video’s thousands of viewers, and Askins himself. 


"It absolutely is. It’s completely legal to discuss pay with your colleagues. Never let a company tell you otherwise. Genuinely, if a company is trying to hide or be dodgy in any way, it’s almost certainly because they’re clipping pay,” Askins rebutted.



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Eventually, her boss admitted that her colleagues “got lucky,” alluding to their pay as a reward for a tricky job market and a “need to fill” role. As a result, the woman asked for the raise she so clearly deserved. 


“I will see what I can do, but as you know, budget reasons might make this pretty tricky right now,” her boss responded to her request. Apparently, this employee is senior and knowledgeable enough to know about the company’s budget but not to be fairly paid for it. 

Ultimately, her boss agreed to align her salary with the other employees after she threatened to leave her role. 

By the end of the TikTok, it became clear that this boss was unwilling to lose an integral employee on their team — despite degrading her demands for more money as inappropriate and senseless. “I will find the money; consider it done,” they responded in a blunt text message after the employee said she would be looking for a new role.

Many commenters applauded the woman for standing up for herself regarding her pay. “So, they were basically saying you should quit and then reapply to get a higher pay?” one viewer questioned. “That’s ridiculous … good for you for sticking to your ground.” 



Askins agreed with the majority of viewers that this woman’s boss acted completely inappropriately. “What a waste of everyone’s time,” he added. “What was this person playing at?” 


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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a News & Entertainment Writer at YourTango who focuses on health & wellness, social policy, and human interest stories.