Ever overhear employees comparing salaries? You may feel it’s bad for morale, and wish they would stop.

That’s understandable. But the one thing a supervisor doesn’t want to do is tell employees to shut up about pay.

Why? Because of the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRA is mainly about union organizing, and if you’re a non-union shop, much of the law doesn’t apply to you. But one part applies to everyone: the provision protecting employees’ right to engage in “concerted activity” over working conditions.

Under that provision, employees are allowed to talk about pay, and reveal their salaries to each other if they wish.

Two steps to take
Here’s what a supervisor can do:

  • Limit the time and place of such discussions – for instance, while on break and only in the break room.
  • Encourage people to come to you, or HR, if they want to talk about pay.

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