Can Your Employees Discuss Their Wages or Salaries At Work?

The Background

You may have heard of The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) with respect to union employees and activities. What you may not realize is that the NLRA protects the rights of most employees, even those not represented by a union, to engage in protected “concerted activity.”

The NLRA protects employees who “take action for their mutual aid or protection regarding terms and conditions of employment,” which includes discussions about conditions of employment, such as safety and pay.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has found that policies prohibiting discussions of pay violate federal law. Some states, such as Minnesota, go even further and allow employees to disclose their own wages to any person.

The Takeaway

Employers cannot prohibit employees, verbally or in written policy, from disclosing and discussing wages, salaries, or other conditions of employment among themselves. Moreover, discussing wages or salaries is protected regardless of whether employees speak face-to-face, via email, or through social media.

To fend off concerns of jealousy or inequity regarding pay, employers may consider:

  • Auditing wages and salaries to ensure pay is competitive in the marketplace.

  • Implementing a compensation strategy, such as the point factor method, to develop equitable pay rates.

  • Maintaining an open-door policy in which employees are encouraged to bring questions or concerns about pay or other working conditions to management or HR.

  • Educating employees about pay rates and ranges, job potential and opportunities, and how additional skills, training, or education can facilitate professional growth, in- or outside the organization.

This blog article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Contact myHRcounsel with questions concerning specific facts and circumstances.