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Concerns Relating to Pay Secrecy

You plan to reward an employee with a raise.  However, because you don’t intend to give an increase to the employee’s less-effective co-worker, you tell him to keep quiet about his new salary.  Seems reasonable, right?

Not so fast!  As of July 2015, Connecticut employers may not prohibit employees from disclosing or discussing their rate of pay.  Connecticut Public Act 15-196  (An Act Concerning Pay Equity and Fairness) was passed as a step toward addressing gender pay inequities.  On July 2, 2015, Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed the bill into law, noting “[t]he legislation does not require employers to … disclose wages, but rather prohibits rules that prevent employees from disclosing that information on their own accord.”

So, while the law does not require that employers volunteer employee wage information, the law does preclude them from engaging in any of the following:

  • Prohibiting an employee from disclosing or discussing the amount of his/her wages or the wages of another employee when the wage information was disclosed voluntarily by the other employee;
  • Prohibiting an employee from inquiring about the wages of another employee;
  • Requiring an employee to sign a waiver or other document foregoing the right to engage in such disclosure, discussion or inquiry; or
  • Imposing any adverse employment action against any employee who engages in such disclosure, discussion or inquiry.

Finally, the law allows employees to sue employers for violating the law and, if successful, recover compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, punitive damages and such other relief as the court may deem appropriate.   Should you have any questions regarding the application of this law to your business, feel free to contact Brown Jacobson’s Employment Practices Group for further information.