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Employment Blog

Stop Talking About Your Compensation - Not

Authored by Dean R. Dietrich
Posted on June 10, 2014
Filed under Employment

Many companies have a policy that prohibits employees from talking about their salary or benefits in order to avoid morale issues in the workplace. It is sometimes hard to enforce a policy like this, but companies believe it is important to make it clear that a discussion of salary that an employee receives is not acceptable in the workplace. Recent statements by General Counsel Richard Griffin Jr. have made it very clear that the NLRB will be looking to stop these types of policies from being implemented.

General Counsel Griffin spoke at a recent labor law conference and stated that company policies which forbid workers from discussing compensation will be on the top of his list of priorities to eliminate on the theory that such policies are a violation of an employee's right to protect it's speech about wages, hours, and conditions of employment, known as Section 7 protected speech. General Counsel Griffin believes that policies of this type are a clear violation of NLRA rights and should not be included in an employee handbook or workplace rule. Attorney Griffin is relying upon a recent NLRB ruling which held that a trucking company violated federal law by maintaining a confidentiality policy that prohibited workers from discussing wages.

General Counsel Griffin also spoke about the Board precedent that prevented employees from using company e-mails to engage in union discussions and union organizing campaigns. The NLRB is seeking arguments on a case that looks to overturn the prior precedent and would allow the use of company e-mail to communicate between employees about union organizing efforts. Employers must be very careful that they are aware of the new strategies being adopted by the NLRB. Company policies are under attack and will be used as a basis for unfair labor practice claims against a company even in a non-union setting.