Speech Suppression

California employers frequently enact policies that limit or suppress their employees’ right to speak freely about their work experience. As the country’s largest law firm exclusively focused on helping employees, we advise people from all walks of life on these speech restriction policies. And when employers seek to enforce unlawful policies or engage in retaliation, we aggressively defend our clients’ rights. 

In California, employee speech suppression can take several forms, including an employer’s broad labeling of internal information as confidential, prohibitions on discussing wages and working conditions, and retaliation or punishment over the “leaking” of information that a company wrongly considers private.

California law specifically protects the rights of employees to:

  • Talk about your salary or wages or those of your colleagues
  • Inquire about your colleague’s salary or wages
  • Discuss your employer’s working conditions
  • Become a whistleblower, either by reporting violations of the law internally, to the government, or to a law enforcement agency.

Speech Suppression in Noncompete Agreements

California law also protects your right to freely move from one employer to the next, discuss the work you performed, talk about your former employer’s workplace conditions, and reveal certain business tactics, strategies, and relationships that your employer may illegally regard as trade secrets. These protections cover you no matter where your employer is based, where your noncompete agreement was executed, and whether you work remotely or not. 

Representative Experience:

  • In a case that a California state agency praised as “significant…in inducing Google to change its policies” O&G represented a class of approximately 97,000 Google employees in Doe v. Google, a free speech case brought under California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). After intensively litigating the case for several years, we negotiated a $27 million settlement for employees who accused the tech giant of violating California law. This settlement set a record as the largest PAGA-only settlement in California’s history.