This will soon be a question Connecticut employees may ask each other without repercussions. Connecticut legislators have passed H.B. 6850 which makes it illegal for employees to prohibit their employees from discussing their wages. The bill will be signed by the Governor as he was the one who urged lawmakers to pass the bill in the first place.
The bill is designed to narrow the wage gap between female and male employees by shining a light on possibly discriminatory practices. The law is scheduled to take effect July 1, 2015.
This bill is the latest in attempts to make compensation information public knowledge in private companies. Other states, such as New Jersey, have similar laws that protect employees from retaliation if they ask about co-workers’ compensation.
It is important to note that nothing in Connecticut’s new law requires an employer or a co-worker to disclose compensation information. It just protects employees who ask for the information or those who voluntarily disclose the information.
The fact is that many employees no longer view discussions about compensation as being taboo as had previously been the case. Employers should expect that employees will discuss in rather specific details their compensation and should be prepared to ignore them. After all, no amount of hand-wringing is going to change this new reality, nor do employers want to be liable for violating the law.