Can we terminate an employee who has been discussing how much he gets paid?

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Q. Our company has a confidentiality policy about employee wages. We recently learned that one of our employees has been violating this policy by disclosing his hourly pay rate to co-workers. Can we terminate this employee for violating our company policy?

A. No. While an employer can discipline employees who obtain confidential information without authorization, it can’t prevent employees from discussing their pay with other employees.

The National Labor Relations Act gives employees the right to “engage in concerted activities,” and the National Labor Relations Board has long taken the position that this includes the right of employees to discuss the terms and conditions of their own employment. Consequently, employers are not allowed to prohibit workers from discussing their own pay and benefits.

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