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Illegal To Forbid Salary Discussion Among Employees

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. Paystub, that is.

As anyone who’s ever worked in an office can tell you, there’s no quicker way to create a disgruntled employee than by telling him the salaries of his coworkers. Which is maybe why the Double Eagle Hotel and Casino in Colorado had a policy forbidding employees from discussing their salaries and bonuses with each other? But that policy is a violation of the law, and the reason that casino was taken to Court.

Under the National Labor Relations Act, with certain restrictions, employees have the right to discuss the terms and conditions of employment with each other. It’s considered crucial to their ability to organize and, if they choose, to unionize.

So a policy like Double Eagle’s, even if only intended to prevent gossiping – not unionizing – violates the NLRA by preventing employees from discussing one of the most important terms of employment – the workers’ salaries.

If your company has a policy preventing salary discussions, it may be trying to maintain morale but is in fact gambling with the law.