Employers typically try to keep the pay rates for different employees (even those who share the same position) quiet, but they aren’t allowed to stop employees from discussing their wages amongst themselves – even if the employer would prefer that information be kept confidential.
Being able to discuss salaries, pay rates and similar information helps to hold the employer accountable and avoid discriminatory practices. Employees will quickly notice if there are unfair pay rates in the company. You can also talk about raises and related information.
What can employers base pay and raises on?
Employers can base pay and raises on several factors, including experience, time with the company and performance. It’s possible that some entry-level employees may make more money than others because they have more extensive training or have much more experience.
It can come as a shock to learn that another person doing the same job as you is making more money, especially if the difference is considerable. It’s usually best to go to your employer calmly to let them know that you’re aware of the issue. While they likely won’t directly address the difference, they can let you know some of the basic pay policies – and that can inform the decisions you make next.
While an employer may not be happy to hear that their employees are discussing their wages, they aren’t allowed to retaliate or discipline any employees who do this. It’s your right to have those discussions.
If you believe that you’re being paid less than other employees because of your race, gender or some other discriminatory factor, it may be time to seek experienced legal guidance.