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June 24, 2008
Can You Discipline Employees For Discussing Pay?
In many companies, one of the policies covered in orientation is the one that tells employees to avoid discussions about their pay. Some companies take the policy further, disciplining or even firing employees who violate that policy. Be aware, though, that a policy forbidding employees to discuss their salaries among themselves may violate the law.

The National Labor Relations Board takes the position that an employee has the right under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to discuss his or her own wages with another employee. To discharge an employee for revealing his or her wage is an unfair labor practice, says the NLRA.

The State of Colorado recently passed legislation that underscores this position. In April 2008, Governor Bill Ritter signed into law the Wage Transparency Act (S.B. 122) that makes it illegal to "discharge, discipline, discriminate against, coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any employee or other person because the employee inquired about, disclosed, compared or otherwise discussed the employee's wages." The Colorado law forbids employers to require that employees refrain from discussions about wages, and does not allow employers to require an employee to sign a waiver of their right to have such discussions.

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