DENVER, Colorado (KCNC) — State lawmakers have taken steps to help close the gender pay gap, but a Denver woman says she was penalized for her actions with the same intentions. Lexi Larson says she was fired after publicly sharing her salary on TikTok.
Larson, 25, has always been open about sharing her salary and budget on social media.
She’s a woman in tech, a field dominated by men. When she scored a new job taking her from $70,000 per year to $90,000 per year, she was ecstatic. She shared the good news on TikTok.
The video went viral.
“A lot of people commented saying, ‘you’re just bragging, you just want people to think you make a lot of money’ or something like that. I was posting my salary back when I wasn’t making very much at all,” said Larson. “I just wanted to let people know that it’s doable and it’s not out of reach for the average person.”
She was terminated two weeks after posting the video on TikTok, which has since been removed.
Larson believes the post about her pay got her fired from her new job.
“[My managers] implied that other people at the company were not paid as much. They didn’t want people to know that. It was a phone call. I have no paper record of that,” said Larson.
Larson could not be fired for publicly sharing her salary because she is protected under the National Labor Relations Act, which states employees have the right to communicate with other employees at their workplace about their wages.
Larson’s employer claims they terminated her because her videos were a security concern.
“I think it’s really important to share your salary and be open about how much everybody is making because that’s the only way we can make sure that women and people of color are being paid fairly,” said Larson.
She does not plan to sue, as Colorado is an at-will state.
State Senator Jessie Danielson (D) told CBS4’s Tori Mason that workers should never be penalized for discussing their wages, benefits or working conditions.
Since January 2021, employers in Colorado have been required to include a salary range with their job postings. Danielson co-sponsored the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act that sparked this change.
Danielson believes workers should always be able to talk with others about their salaries. She says this knowledge makes workers, especially women, more equipped to fight for the pay they deserve.
“This act is translating into a more fair workplace, better compensation and equal treatment for women all across the state. Pay transparency is a huge part of that,” said Danielson.
Danielson says when workers are aware of conditions and the compensation of colleagues, they are better able to advocate for themselves and what they should be earning.
“I’ve heard from a number of women who have come to me and said, ‘If it weren’t for this new law, I would not have known about this new advancement opportunity. I got a promotion and a raise only because of this new law that requires employers to make this information public,'” said Danielson.
Larson was able to get her previous job back that paid less.
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