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My company maintains a confidentiality policy that forbids employees from discussing their wages with their co-workers. Is it legal for me to terminate an employee for discussing or disclosing his/her wages with other employees?

July 5, 2011

Restricting an employee’s ability to discuss wages is unlawful and exposes an employer to liability. In addition to various state labor codes protecting the rights of employees to discuss their wages and working conditions with others, Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) grants employees the right to form, join or assist unions, to engage in other concerted activities, or to refrain from doing so. Section 8 of the NLRA further protects this entitlement and makes it an unfair labor practice for an employer to “interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed” under Section 7.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has routinely stated that employers may violate Section 8 of the NLRA if their employee handbook provisions interfere with an employee’s ability to exercise their Section 7 rights to openly discuss wages and working conditions.

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