Workers Hilariously Retaliate When Their Boss Posts A Notice Forbidding Them From Discussing Their Pay Rates

They broke his illegal rule in the most delightfully shady way possible.

employee plotting retaliation against boss who forbids discussion of pay SIphotography / Getty Images / Canva Pro

Sometimes, when a boss gets a bit too big for their britches, the only way you can truly fix it is by throwing the usual politeness out the window and knocking them down a peg.

That's precisely what some gym employees did when their boss made a rule that was not only unfair but outright illegal. 

They didn't just break the rule and defy him — they trolled him in the process using nothing but the gaps in his own knowledge about employment law.


The workers hilariously retaliated against their boss, who forbids discussion of pay.

Pay transparency has become a hot-button issue in recent years because it goes against long-held mores that say talking openly about money is crass or impolite.

RELATED: Worker Applauded For Exposing His Salary In A Company-Wide Email So Coworkers Could Ask For A Raise


But for employers, of course, it goes far beyond manners. Talking about pay can reveal unfair or even discriminatory practices, which gives employees leverage over employers, both in terms of getting a better pay rate and with respect to efforts to make workplaces more equitable for women and minorities.

Suffice it to say that the manager of one Kentucky Planet Fitness location was not on board with that leverage and decided to take bold action against his workers. And boy, did it blow up in his face.

The boss posted a notice threatening to fire employees who openly discussed their wages.

The notice goes sideways right out the gate. It begins with the phrase, "ATTENTION ALL SUBORDINATES," and if there's one way to get employees to listen to and respect you, it's addressing them as underlings. Excellent management skills here. Hats off!

notice from boss who forbids discussion of pay @JoshuaPHilll / X


The notice went on to announce, in all caps of course, that "effective immediately, conversing about wages (both on duty and off duty) is strictly forbidden."

The manager, named Jer, wrote that wage rates are "considered proprietary information and as such, it is protected legally." He threatened disciplinary action, including termination of any worker overheard engaging in or even listening to conversations about pay.

@yourtango A new boss was blindsided by an employee’s hefty redundancy pay when the employee was let go from his job. #worktok #corporate #laidoff #reddit #redundancy #toxicboss ♬ original sound - YourTango

The best part comes at the very end, though. "As a reminder," the notice concluded, "Kentucky is an at-will state, meaning your employment can be terminated for any reason without legal percussion."


"Without legal percussion," eh Jer? Thank goodness, I'm sure your employees would hate to come into work and listen to a marching band drumline composed entirely of lawyers or whatever, in God's name, "legal percussion" is! Phew!

RELATED: Study Shows 77% Of Workers Have Been Impacted By 'Quiet Cutting' — The Latest Sad Workplace Trend

The employees responded with a notice telling the boss that forbidding discussion of pay is illegal — and then they all revealed their wage rates.

Thankfully, someone at the ol' Planet Fitness knows their rights because Jer's little notice is extremely illegal — like a violation of federal law, illegal. So the employees decided to tell him so in the most hilarious way possible by posting a trolling response to his notice — in Comic Sans font, no less.  

"Yo Jer-Bear," the response began, "seeing as you're a manager in the great illustrious world of Planet Fitness gym franchises, it may behoove you to become familiar with the laws pertaining to it."


workers' trolling reply to notice from boss who forbids discussion of pay @JoshuaPHilll / X

The writer of the reply helpfully included a link to the National Labor Relations Board's explanation of every worker's right to discuss wages for Jer's reference before offering him some more valuable advice about that whole "legal percussion" gaffe.

"Sprinkling legalese and word-salad across an 8.5x11 paper you printed does not a legal doc make," the reply pithily continued. "Since research ain't your forte, I've included a link to the pertinent documents … Kinda hard to miss."


"Needless to say, you can't legally tell us not to discuss wages in the good ol' U.S. of A.," the reply went on to say before reaching the best part of all: A list of employees' names and their respective hourly wage rates.

"The rest of your 'subordinates' could not be reached, but they're welcome to post their wage above," the reply concluded, and plenty of "subordinates" obliged by writing in their names and hourly rates at the bottom of the paper. Now suck on that, Jer!

Lawyers say that if your employer tries to prevent the discussion of pay, you should report them to authorities and talk to a lawyer.

Unlike Jer, the worker who wrote this notice actually does know the law. The National Labor Relations Act, a federal law, not only states that workers are allowed to discuss pay with each other but also with those outside the workplace.


The law states: "Employees have the right to communicate with their co-workers about their wages, as well as with labor organizations, worker centers, the media, and the public."

Employers will often try to retain their leverage to undercut their employees by including clauses in employment contracts forbidding pay transparency, but employment lawyers like Paige Sparks, known as lawyerpaige on TikTok, say these clauses are not only meaningless but illegal because NLRA is a federal law.

In another video, Sparks explained that the NLRA includes discussion of everyone's wages, not just your own, including superiors like managers, bosses, and company leadership, as well as attempts to unionize a workplace. In some cases, it even applies to discussions of things like write-ups, even if they have nothing to do with pay.


So what should you do if you've got a "Jer" on your hands trying to crack the whip and intimidate you? Sparks said to report them to local labor relations authorities in your state and consult a lawyer, especially because many states have additional protections over and above the NLRA.

So much for keeping "subordinates" in check without "legal percussion!"

RELATED: Boss Tells His Employees To Keep Working Through An Actual Fire Drill Because They Are ‘So Far Off’ From Their Monthly Goal


John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.