My employer is telling me that my income is confidential and shall not be discussed among others in our work environment. This sounds a bit off to me since in my time at college I studied the National Labor Relations Act and it seems pretty clear that it protects the rights of employees to 'engage in concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection'. In my mind sharing mutual salaries with willing-to-know fellow employees is such an activity. Why is this considered such a hushed, sacred topic? Also if discussed could I receive disciplinary actions including termination under any legal grounds? Apparently this is what most of my counterparts seem to fear and I guess I myself do as well. In my opinion the law is there to protect exactly from this so why do so many companies try to keep their workers quiet?
This is a long held tradition that employers have done in order to help keep wages low. However, the NLRB in recent years determined that such a prohibition is unlawful, so they cannot actually do it.
That said, if you do share, be mindful they may retaliate even though that would be its own cause of action against them.
This response is only general information and is not legal advice. It does not form an attorney-client relationship and should not be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. You should seek a qualified attorney before taking any action related to your inquiry.
This is a common -- and absolutely illegal -- rule that a lot of employers have traditionally imposed on their employees. Companies don't want their employees to compare salary information with each other, because they're afraid that if Mary finds out that John is making 20% more than she is for doing the exact same work, she'll go ballistic.
Your analysis of the NLRA is correct. Being able to share salary information with your coworkers is part of the concerted mutual aid and protection contemplated by the NLRA. Because sharing salary information is protected activity under the NLRA, it would be illegal for your employer to discipline or terminate you for doing it.
I agree with the two answers you've already received. Also, the NLRB is taking a hard look at any such prohibition that appears in writing, such as a handbook.
I recommend you don't idly challenge this with your employer without a purpose and plan in mind.
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