Way to go Vermont!
Yesterday, Vermont passed a law that deals with a huge barrier to fighting workplace discrimination, punitive pay secrecy policies. Over 61 percent of private-sector workers prohibit or discourage discussions on wages amongst coworkers. Yet, comparing wages is one of the easiest ways to know if you are getting less than your due. When employees don’t know how they compare to others, they may not even realize they are being paid less.
Vermont’s law provides crucial elements to remove that barrier. It prevents employers from conditioning employment on an employees’ promise not to disclose, inquire, or discuss their wages. It also prevents employers from requiring employees sign waivers or documents. Importantly, it has an anti-retaliation provision, protecting employees who do disclose, inquire, and discuss their wages.
Vermont is not the only state to ban secret pay policies; California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, and Michigan have anti-retaliation laws addressing pay disclosure policies. It is time for Congress to follow Vermont’s lead — the Paycheck Fairness Act would also prohibit employers from penalizing workers who share their own wages. And it’s time for these absurd policies to be banned in states around the country.