Comparing paychecks: Can we prohibit it?

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in Employment Law,Management Training

Q. You recently wrote that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) gives employees the legal right to discuss their pay with one another. Our office policy has always been that we do not allow this. Are we within our legal rights to prohibit it? We are a private medical practice with 88 employees and four offices. — A.R., Florida

A. You need to change your policy. Under Section 7 of the NLRA, nonmanagement employees (regardless of whether they are members of a union) have a right to engage in concerted activities, including the right to discuss the terms and conditions of their employment with one another. The National Labor Relations Board has made it clear that employers can’t prohibit employees from discussing their pay and benefits. Regardless of whether your policy is enforced, the mere existence of such a restriction is an unfair labor practice.

While you can’t have a policy prohibiting discussion about pay and benefits, you are not obligated to affirmatively educate employees of their Section 7 rights (at least not yet).

Furthermore, it’s a good practice to promote confidentiality of sensitive business information.

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