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Questions and answers about the treatment you get from your boss

Do you think that the way your boss has been treating you at work may be illegal? If so, consider the following questions and answers about what a boss can and cannot do.

Q. Can your boss tell you to keep your salary a secret, or can he or she discuss it with other workers?

A: Your boss can't tell you to keep quiet about your wages, as you're allowed to discuss them with anyone you want. However, your boss is also free to tell other employees what you make.

Q. If your boss tells you not to bring up a subject at work, does that violate the First Amendment?

A: No. The First Amendment gives you the right to free speech, but it only means the government can't pass laws to stop you from talking about something. Your boss can still tell you that certain subjects—like politics—are off-limits at work. This has nothing to do with free speech, despite the common misconception.

Q. Can your boss deny a vacation request?

A: Yes, your boss can tell you that your request is denied, even if you have vacation time. You can't be prevented from ever using it, but your boss does not have to give you whatever day you want. This is why you could be told to work on Christmas, for example, even if you want the day off.

Q. Can your boss fire you when you give your two weeks' notice?

A: Yes, in most cases. Unless your contract says otherwise, you can be fired from at-will employment at any time.

If you think your rights have been violated in Michigan, make sure you know your legal options.

Source: US News, "Can My Boss Do That?," Alison Green, accessed April 21, 2016

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