Thursday, January 12, 2023

Employers, for the love of God, please stop banning employees from discussing their wages

I came across the following recent post on the legaladvice subreddit.

Work for a brewery. GM and owner … informed everyone that we needed to sign a contract essentially stating that if ANY employee was found to be discussing wages, they would be terminated immediately.… As of last week, GM let everyone know that any employee who hasn't signed the paper will be looked at as a voluntary resignation. I should probably add that, of course, we have no union.

This is what we labor and employment lawyers call … what's the term … ILLEGAL

Employer policies prohibiting pay-discussions among employees, or retaliating against employees who discuss how much they make, are per se illegal under the National Labor Relations Act.

Don't just take my word for it. Here's what the NLRB said on this very issue in Boeing Co.:

Rules that the Board … designates as unlawful to maintain because they … prohibit or limit NLRA-protected conduct, and the adverse impact on NLRA rights is not outweighed by justifications associated with the rule. An example … would be a rule that prohibits employees from discussing wages or benefits with one another.

These are illegal policies that you can't enforce … at least not without buying yourself an indefensible unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB. So please, stop issuing edicts like this one. Stop putting "no wage discussion" policies in your handbooks. Stop requiring employees to sign confidentiality policies that include wage discussions. And stop disciplining or firing employees who talk about their wages. If you don't, no labor and employment lawyer can help you.

And one more thing, specifically as to the OP's note that his brewery is non-union. With management like this, I wonder for how long.