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Phone: 606-618-0698

Options for employers when employees discuss wages and salary

No matter how much your try and circumvent it, employees discuss earnings with one another. The repercussions of these discussions ripple through departments. Wage discussions cause unrest and dissatisfaction throughout an organization. Understanding the protections covered by National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) prevents inadvertent employer violation.

Protected concerted activity

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) defends employee rights and enforces the NLRA. As evidenced by repeated cases, the NLRB finds company policies against wage discussions an unlawful violation of the NLRA. Wage discussion policies in employee handbooks also apply.

Conversations between employees regarding working conditions and issues are a protected concerted activity. This includes conversations regarding pay. The NLRA states employees have the right to “engage in concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection”. However, protections generally do not include conversations carried out in a malicious way unrelated to labor complaints.

Actionable steps for employers

Reasons for salary differences vary. However, employers looking to thwart wage discussion should consider instituting constructive workplace strategies. Fair compensation and competitive salaries prevent unnecessary turnover. Having a framework for compensation, such as clear salary ranges and job growth potential, hampers unreasonable employee expectations. Proactive employers should also consider regular internal surveys to gauge compensation perceptions and employee satisfaction.

Pay equity is a sensitive topic for employers and employees alike. Transparent wage policies remove some of the emotion from the table. Fostering positive working relationships with employees goes a long way towards protecting your company.

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