Is it legal to prohibit employees from discussing their salaries? It depends on how far your prohibition goes.
While many employers don't like it, workers are generally allowed to talk about their salaries with coworkers at the water cooler. With the popularity of social media, discussing salaries online with other workers is also lawful.
The National Labor Relations Act provides some guidance on how to proceed when it comes to employees talking about their salaries. Here's a general overview:
What Does the NLRA Say?
The NLRA allows private sector employees to organize into trade unions, take collective action like strikes, and engage in collective bargaining.
Since the Act is among the several federal laws that govern all workplace activity, it's important to become familiar with them.
What Salary Discussions Can Employers Limit?
Although the Act gives employees much leeway about what can be discussed at work, there are some ways that employers can lawfully limit salary discussions.
For example, employers:
However, employers could have a tough time limiting salary discussions on social networks. An NLRB memo suggests that employers must allow their employees to discuss their wages online with other employees.
For more specific guidance about whether your policy limiting employee salary discussions goes too far, you may want to contact an experienced employment lawyer in your area.
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