Bosses, leaders, supervisors, however your company refers to them, there's always an intimidation factor surrounding them. It's just natural even if that boss is the greatest person ever. It's still a business and they're still your leader and have their bosses to answer to.

While we like to believe that someone in a leadership role would never do anything against the law it could happen inadvertently or truly be a boss taking advantage of their position.

Most of us are familiar with discrimination laws as well as illegal job application questions and sexual harassment. Then there are these less talked about but equally illegal things a boss cannot do.

Getty Images/Canva
Getty Images/Canva
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FORBID SALARY DISCUSSION WITH COLLEAGUES

If you want to talk about your salary with your coworkers go for it. It's illegal for your boss or any company to try to stop you as it falls under discrimination. You're also allowed to ask what others in your company are making. If you're interviewing you can ask about the varying salaries people have made.

PENALIZE AN EMPLOYEE FOR JOB COMPLAINING ON OR OFF SOCIAL MEDIA

This can be a tricky one however generally speaking according to the Aware Recruiter website, certain discussions about workplace conditions and pay are protected under labor laws. For example, if an employee on their personal social media page complains they can't be penalized.

Preventing any kind of discussion can be considered a violation of workers’ rights if there are issues in the workplace.

TREAT CONTRACTORS/FREELANCERS LIKE FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES

This is a big one according to Finance Buzz. If you're a contract employee or freelancer that means that your company is saving money because they don't have to pay you benefits and save on various taxes.

A lot of people prefer working this way as well. However take note that as an independent contractor, your boss can't tell you how to work or when to work. Obviously, certain projects or jobs happen during certain hours with deadlines using company resources, etc but that's all agreed upon when you sign on as a freelancer. He or she can't add additional responsibilities, either without renegotiating your agreement.

FAIL TO PAY OVER TIME

No, an extra vacation day or comp day isn't how this works if you work overtime. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) means any employee working an hourly wage versus salary gets paid time-and-a-half beyond the regular rate after a 40-hour workweek, period.

EMPLOYEE PRIVACY RIGHTS

What are your privacy rights exactly? This comes down to the legal boundaries of monitoring communications and your personal property at work including unauthorized surveillance of personal emails and items at work. You have a right to privacy at work, too that's protected under various state and federal laws.

BAN ATTEMPTS TO ORGANIZE

If your boss tells you you're not allowed to form or join a union that's illegal and has been since 1935 when the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) was passed.

The big question becomes whether you're comfortable in your work environment to broach something that feels illegal if it ever comes to that and if you feel safe doing so.

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