A “pay equity” proposal in the legislature could cause tremendous disruption in Connecticut workplaces.
HB 6850 prohibits employers from imposing or enforcing any rule that forbids their employees from discussing and/or distributing other employees' confidential wage information in the workplace without those other employees' consent.
Under the proposal, any employer attempting to discipline an employee engaging in this conduct could find itself in court and paying damages to the employee.
Called “An Act Concerning Pay Equity and Fairness,” the bill is being promoted under the notion that more transparency in the workplace about wages will help eliminate the gender pay gap.
The reality, however, is that HB 6850 does little to address any real or perceived pay gap between men and women.
Instead, it will create the possibility of serious problems in the workplace regardless of an individual’s gender.
Even though employers won’t be required to provide another's wage data to an employee, HB 6850 threatens possible court action for any employer that tries to reprimand an employee who:
- Improperly accesses coworkers' confidential wage information and shares it with another employee
- Repeatedly asks coworkers for their wage information in a disturbing or potentially irritating manner
- Has access to employee wage information, and retaliates in anger against an employer by emailing the information company-wide
What they’re missing:
What many fail to realize is that state and federal laws already make wage disparities based on gender illegal.
This bill also conflicts with state personnel files law that protect employee’s right of privacy over their personnel information, including their wage rates. It would take away that privacy, and permit others to access and share their confidential wage information, without permission and without consequence.
Lawmakers should promote legislation that will help Connecticut’s job creators create more opportunities for more people—not adopt proposals that will make it harder to do business in the state.