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Why President Obama Forbade Retaliation By Federal Contractors Against Employees Who Share Their Compensation Information

President Obama reiterated existing federal law when he recently acted to prevent federal contractors from retaliating against workers who share their salary information.  He issued an Executive Order which states a federal contractor “will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because such employee or applicant for employment has inquired about, discussed, or disclosed the compensation of the employee or applicant or another employee or applicant.”  However, employees who have access to other employees’ compensation information as part of their job are not protected if they disclose the information to those who do not.  So a Human Resources worker, for example, could still face punishment if he has access to other employees’ compensation information and shares the information with someone who does not.

Since President Obama’s Order is in accord with the National Labor Relations Board’s long-held position on this issue, his action was really just ceremonial.  However, President Obama’s goal is likely to get this issue into the public eye to increase support for this initiative and improve the likelihood of broad change where open discussions of wages are accepted.

Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying with the latest state and federal employment laws.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.965.0560.