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Fri Feb 15, 2013, 06:49 PM

Board finds Houston engineering firm unlawfully fired employee for discussing salaries with coworker

Source: NLRB

The National Labor Relations Board has found that a Texas engineering firm unlawfully fired an employee for discussing salary information with co-workers, and ordered the company to offer reinstatement and to pay back wages for the time out of work.

Under the Board Order, which issued February 8, Houston-based Jones & Carter, Inc. also must rescind its policy of forbidding employee discussion of salaries. The National Labor Relations Act protects the rights of workers to discuss their terms and conditions of employment, including wages.

In the absence of exceptions, the Board adopted the November 26 decision of Administrative Law Judge Margaret G. Brakebusch. During trial, company officials said the employee – a training coordinator - was fired for “harassing” other workers. But the judge noted that the same company officials told state unemployment investigators a different story, including that the employee was fired for discussing salaries with other workers, and that sharing such information was a “pet peeve” of the company.

As a result of the Board action, Jones & Carter offered the employee reinstatement to her former position, which she declined. The employer agreed to make the former employee whole by paying her backpay, 401(k) contributions, medical expenses and interest in the total amount of $107,000, to revise its policy to delete the prohibition on employees of discussing their salaries, and to post a Board Notice describing these actions.



Read more: http://www.nlrb.gov/news/board-finds-houston-engineering-firm-unlawfully-fired-employee-discussing-salaries-coworkers-0



Copyright exempt. February 15, 2013

Contact: Office of Public Affairs
202-273-1991
publicinfo@nlrb.gov
www.nlrb.gov


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Arrow 27 replies Author Time Post
Reply Board finds Houston engineering firm unlawfully fired employee for discussing salaries with coworker (Original post)
Omaha Steve Feb 2013 OP
Curmudgeoness Feb 2013 #1
riverbendviewgal Feb 2013 #2
Curmudgeoness Feb 2013 #3
obamanut2012 Feb 2013 #14
Curmudgeoness Feb 2013 #22
NRA_SUCKS Feb 2013 #4
Lucky Luciano Feb 2013 #5
unblock Feb 2013 #27
24601 Feb 2013 #6
Omaha Steve Feb 2013 #7
24601 Feb 2013 #8
Omaha Steve Feb 2013 #9
dixiegrrrrl Feb 2013 #15
MrModerate Feb 2013 #10
bemildred Feb 2013 #11
cstanleytech Feb 2013 #12
Ash_F Feb 2013 #21
obamanut2012 Feb 2013 #13
dixiegrrrrl Feb 2013 #16
obamanut2012 Feb 2013 #18
Nikia Feb 2013 #17
obamanut2012 Feb 2013 #19
Curmudgeoness Feb 2013 #23
Gormy Cuss Feb 2013 #20
Marrah_G Feb 2013 #24
bananas Feb 2013 #25
Omaha Steve Feb 2013 #26

Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 07:04 PM

1. This is really important.

I would not be surprised if most of us have been threatened with being fired if we discuss our compensation with any other employees where we work. I know that every place I have worked has made it clear that this is a fire-able offense.

I do the payroll at work. I know intimately why management does not want this information public.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #1)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 07:08 PM

2. but when you are in a union

all union members know how much your position is paid..

Unions are fair

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Response to riverbendviewgal (Reply #2)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 07:15 PM

3. That is true.

Unfortunately for me, I have not worked in any union offices. Even when I have worked places where there were union shops, the offices were not union. I don't get it, but that is how it is.

But you are right. There is nothing fair about where I am working now. I really wish that people there would talk to each other about their pay rates, because I am not supposed to.....because of my position.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 09:16 AM

14. It is against the law to ban employees from discussing wages

Even though many people get fired for doing so.

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #14)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 02:38 PM

22. Well, from our employee handbook,

updated September 2012----They consider it part of the "confidential nature of work" section. It says that we cannot disclose "information related to company contacts, agreements, or pay schedules, past or current". This may sound like it is only to protect from talking to people outside of the company about any pay or commissions, but this is what they have used to tell employees that they cannot discuss it.

Against the law or not, unfortunately, many of us would not want to have the fight involved. And that really is where they have us by the balls.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 07:24 PM

4. Oh good... can we PLEASE Get rid of this eveil fucking caluse in contrats?

 

PLEASE!?!?!?!
I was fired for this once, but since they found another excuse I couldn't sue them.
I found out because I backed my old boss in a corner and got the truth out of him.
I will rejoice the day I can discuss this with my colleagues openly because it's important we know who makes what to bargain with management with. that's the REAL reason they make it taboo at work!

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 07:51 PM

5. Want to start a riot in wall st?

Have Anonymous hack HR and publish everyone's base and bonus...

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Response to Lucky Luciano (Reply #5)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 10:15 PM

27. oh the humanity!

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 08:20 PM

6. OK this will be interesting since the courts have ruled that the NLRB appointments were

unconstitutional. (Through the Circuit Court of Appeals so far) Makes one wonder if all their rulings will be thrown out on the basis that they were not lawful board members.

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Response to 24601 (Reply #6)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 08:35 PM

7. The Appeals Court only ruled on the ONE case in front of it


It may come down to the SCOTUS making the decision in the next couple years. We know Obama will be appointing at least TWO SCOTUS judges in the next two years by the numbers.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Reply #7)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 09:51 PM

8. Steve, if it was just a number crunch, wouldn't Jimmy Carter have made at lease one USSC

appointment? It's more likely that a conservative justice would do all he could to hold on while a progressive justice could see the opportunity to be replaced with someone who is like-minded.

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Response to 24601 (Reply #8)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 10:09 PM

9. Four in their 70's, one with cancer....

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Response to Omaha Steve (Reply #9)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 09:28 AM

15. Thank you for that chart!!!!

I am making a copy.

Many thanks.




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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Fri Feb 15, 2013, 11:50 PM

10. Interesting. In my company . . .

It's considered "bad form," and supervisors are prohibited from discussing their direct reports' compensation with anyone but HR and the supervisor's supervisor during salary planning.

The premise being that doing so leads to general unhappiness. Among individual employees, such discussions are discouraged but not forbidden. Also, salary schedules by grade are generally available up to the director level. You can figure out pretty much what your peers are making by knowing their grade.

As company owners, Directors' compensation is a deep-dark secret, but widely believed to be in the zillions. Which is actually OK, since we almost always promote from within and (for example) our current president of one of our major business lines started out as a document control clerk; another president started as a safety inspector.

So individual employees, if they're hot stuff, can aspire to the top. It's a significant element of our employee engagement/corporate culture.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 07:30 AM

11. The "entrepreneurs" hate it when we discuss what they pay us.

Knowledge is power.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 08:21 AM

12. Did they also go after the company for perjury?

" During trial, company officials said the employee – a training coordinator - was fired for “harassing” other workers. But the judge noted that the same company officials told state unemployment investigators a different story, including that the employee was fired for discussing salaries with other workers, and that sharing such information was a “pet peeve” of the company."

After all ^^ reads as if perjury did occur or am I mistaken?

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #12)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 10:45 AM

21. This happens all too often

Unfortunately right wing prosecutors love this particular breed of criminal, and will do everything they can avoid charging them. This is why is so important that we get the pubs out of every office, not just the presidency.


At least in the courts, working people have a fighting chance.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 09:14 AM

13. You cannot ban workers from discussing salaries

It is against Federal law to do so.

Most people don't know that, and employers do everything they can to make sure it stays that way.

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #13)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 09:30 AM

16. Did you mean to say "employers" ?

Just checking...

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #16)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 09:40 AM

18. Oops! yes

Editing.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 09:32 AM

17. At my previous job, I was told that if I told anyone what I was making or that I got a raise

I would not be getting any further raises. I was making a much above wage for that company, although it was less than industry average, and they didn't want people thinking I was over paid. Although I think that it was good advice since jealous coworkers sometimes take out their frustrations on higher paid employees rather than demanding higher wages for themselves, I resented being threatened like that.

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Response to Nikia (Reply #17)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 09:42 AM

19. They didn't want other people wanting the same salary

This is also how they pay women and other minorities less.

I do not mean YOU, I mean what employers do.

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Response to Nikia (Reply #17)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 02:45 PM

23. Don't be deluded into thinking that they cared about how others would treat you.

There is only one reason that employers do not want others to know what people are paid, and that is so that the employees will not realize that they are being underpaid.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 10:29 AM

20. I worked in a company with an open payroll and it really made a huge difference

Want to know whether you're paid fairly? Crack the roster and see what others with your same job title were earning.
People still objected to perceived inequities but it was in the open and not discouraged by management. Truth is though, there was a lot less complaining about salary there than any place else where I've worked.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 03:57 PM

24. When I worked at home depot many years ago this was also the rule

I often thought that as the only female in the lumber and building materials dept in most of the region that I was probably being paid less, but there was no way to know.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 09:47 PM

25. Link changed, try this one

The link in the OP gives "Page not found", this one works:
http://www.nlrb.gov/news-outreach/news-releases/board-finds-houston-engineering-firm-unlawfully-fired-employee-discussin

The original link used to work, according to google's webcache:
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nlrb.gov%2Fnews%2Fboard-finds-houston-engineering-firm-unlawfully-fired-employee-discussing-salaries-coworkers-0

So for some reason they changed the link after the OP was posted.
Don't know why some web sites do this.

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Response to bananas (Reply #25)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 09:58 PM

26. Thanks for the help

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