said by OZO:
nearly half of U.S. employees are either contractually forbidden or strongly discouraged from discussing their own pay with their colleagues.
Hmmm, interesting... Why is that? Why employees are either contractually forbidden or strongly discouraged from discussing their own pay with their colleagues, while the employers are free to share that info with third party companies? ...
The rationale I was given when I worked under such a rule was that disclosing one's pay to other workers breeds envy and jealousy among co-workers doing what superficially appears to be similar work, but who aren't being paid the same for various legitimate (to the company) reasons. In many scenarios, teamwork is highly important, if not critical. If one worker has to step in for, or work in parallel with, another worker on certain joint or identical tasks but is being paid a lower scale, it can stir resentment between them that interferes with the work being done. Likewise, a worker may not grasp why another worker in a different position is legitimately paid as highly as he might be for the kind of work and effort he appears (to the observing worker) to put forth. The ethic behind the rule is that a given worker agrees to do a job with an employer for a certain pay, and that's the end of the arrangement... what other workers are paid is an agreement between each of them and the employer, not some third-party worker, so it's nobody else's business - particularly if it leads to dissension and inefficiency in the workplace. The principle is that perception of a worker's value to a company is reflected in the worker's overall pay, and a company can value one employee over another similar one for a multitude of reasons besides the immediate nature of a task being done.
Having been under such a rule, I've seen it cut both ways: to minimize workplace envy/jealousy, and to mask employer (or manager) discrimination of one form or another. In several instances, employees ignored the rule at some point and revealed to others what their pay was, and the resulting envy and bickering rapidly impacted job performance and quality for the entire team - even those not making the disclosure. In other instances, certain managers suppressed the pay of some workers and increased it for certain others for "personal" reasons unrelated to the employee skill or their quality of work... it was suspected but never reported at the time, since the employees were obeying the non-disclosure rules.
I'm not defending such rules, just offering some explanation for them. No rules are created in a vacuum, so even if they're flawed, there will be a certain logic behind them. The question, as always, is whether or not they're good rules for all involved, overall.--
The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money. A. de Tocqueville