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Pros and Cons of Salary Conversations


Many employers discourage staff members from discussing their salaries. Often a culture of privacy around salary leaves is in place. But, it is not illegal in most circumstances. While comparing compensation and pay rates can be frowned upon, according to the National Labor Relations Act, employees have a right to have discussions that promote mutual aid. Also, employers are not permitted to have policies involving pay secrecy.

There are times when nondisclosure agreements are in place. While these may not state parameters about staff conversations, they may include bans on sharing income levels with the public. Talk to a Columbus employment attorney about your situation if you have questions.

When Talking About Pay Is Beneficial

Every situation needs to be assessed individually, but in some situations there can be advantages to talking about pay levels. After all, in order for you to know how your pay compares to what others are making you need to have at least a general idea of the other party’s income.

When employers control information, it can be a way for them to restrict employees’ individual access to fair and appropriate pay compensation. When people are able to freely discuss their pay, it gives them the power, in some instances, to organize. Living wages are essential for working families, when companies are abusing their power and acting in a monopolistic way, they may be taking part in illegal practices.

Plus, practices of discrimination may be exposed when levels of pay come to light. For example, certain age groups could be paid more. Or maybe there is an increase in pay along gender lines.  This is one of the many reasons employers do not appreciate staff members discussing salaries, unfair pay practices can come to light. If there is clear evidence, violations can be brought to the National Labor Relations Board. A Columbus employment attorney can help when this is a desired step.

There Are Downsides to Discussing Pay

Of course, there are disadvantages to coworkers sharing salary numbers as well. There can be feelings of discontent and anger. Productivity and job performance can be impacted and friends who have worked together for a long period of time may find themselves unable to communicate due to jealous feelings by one or both parties.

Nondisclosure agreements may be in place as well. Within these agreements there can be restrictions on when employees can talk about their pay. They may be prevented from discussing income outside of the workplace or sharing those figures with individuals who work at competing businesses within the same industry. When you sign a nondisclosure agreement, be sure you understand the entire contract. There may be factors you are agreeing to that are not openly discussed in conversation.

Have you been punished at work for talking about your salary with another staff member? Contact the employment lawyers at Coffman Legal LLC today. We are strong and committed advocates for all Ohio workers and use our experience and knowledge to help you with any pay issues you are experiencing. Call 614-949-1181 for a free and confidential consultation.


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