Why Pay Secrecy May Be Bad for Employees

Talking about your pay level might not just uncover disparities in pay, rather improve employee morale. When employees know that they are on a level playing field, earnings-wise, it may foster better collaboration and camaraderie. Though no study has identified a direct link, pay transparency amongst employees may be a means of addressing wage inequality.

Employee Retribution Concerns

Fear of the potential negative repercussions, such as being fired, are what keeps most people from discussing their pay levels with co-workers. In fact, many employers threaten or cajole employees into not discussing pay with their co-workers.

The National Labor Relations Act protects most workers’ rights to talk about pay with co-workers. However, before doing so please understand that you may not be covered by it. The law generally does not cover government employees, agricultural laborers, independent contractors and supervisors. In addition it is important that workers consider more than just the legality of doing so. In discussing your pay with co-workers you also run the risk of offending them.

If an employer threatens you for discussing pay it is advisable to talk to your human resources officer to point out the guidelines put forth by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). If you are fired or retaliated against for doing so, you may file a complaint with the NLRB or reach out to one of our attorneys at Kwall Barack Nadeau PLLC.

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