Let’s Talk About Salaries

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As previously blogged about here, the Supreme Court’s terrible decision last week in the pay discrimination case should lead to major reform regarding publicly disclosing salary information.   Susan Reed has taken up the cause in an editorial in the New York Times today.   She concludes:

Requiring companies to post salaries would give employers and employees a chance to begin discussing wages as responsible adults instead of as king and supplicant, or owner and beggar. It would help employees to better understand what their jobs are worth, and it would encourage their bosses to see how much more loyalty and productivity they could get from their workers in the absence of secret salary negotiations. In the end, fewer employees might file discrimination complaints, and if they did, at least they’d be able to gather enough evidence to meet the deadline.

Congress needs to take up this cause immediately and end the “last taboo.”

– David S. Cohen

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0 Responses to Let’s Talk About Salaries

  1. Ann Bartow says:

    I think rather than simply releasing salary information, *total compensation* needs to be disclosed.

    Consider the fact that at most, if not all, public law schools in this country, faculty salaries are publicly available. This leads to all kinds of games involving chair money, research support, “mystery money” and even retirement contributions, which are not factored into reported salaries and are not publicly ascertainable, at least not as far as I can tell. It’s a way for law school administrators to monetarily reward their friends and punish their enemies without scrutiny or censure. Private entities will engage in the same sorts of gaming behaviors if they only have to release salary information.

  2. Eric says:

    This is something of a hobby horse of mine, because of the reporting requirements that apply to labor unions. The Bush Administration has even started posting all that information online at the DOL website.

    Apropos of Ann’s point, the union reporting requirements apply to all expenditures, not just salaries; so non-salary perks show up too.

    As an advocate of union democracy, I don’t have a problem with such transparency. But I object to the fact that it applies only to unions and not all employers.