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  • #2190236

    Knowledge of other peoples salary info?


    by lsmith1989 ·

    Here’s the deal,

    I work in the public service sector and our salary information is deemed public info even to internal employees. Anyone heard of such a thing? Recently, my co-workers found out how much folks make and got all worked up about it. They then try to “Rally” the troops and will pressure people like me to joing them on a crusade to get them more money by duking it out with management.

    I happen to make more then a few of them but they havent said anything to me yet at least in front of my face. I feel that I can pull my own wight and am happy with what I’m making. I dont want to be any part of this “crusade” but yet I feel like I kind of have to be because if I dont’t take part, then I will be labled an outsider and the rest of the crew will make my work life miserable in very subtle ways thats really hard to document or track.

    Other then this, my new job is mostly tolerable and enjoyable.

    Any advice? This is a new job for me and it will be a long while to get another job that pays thi well. Should I bear and grin it for my family’s sake and tough it out for a while?

    Anyone have similiar situation? In the private sector, is it illegal to obtain and know other people’s salary information.

    Any advice is appreciated, please ignore my stupidity.

All Comments

  • Author
    • #3072694

      Some places I’ve worked you are not meant to discuss

      by tony hopkinson ·

      In reply to Knowledge of other peoples salary info?

      it. Others they are open to the extent of salary bands and which band everyone is in.
      I would say that as soon as management want you to conceal your’re salary information it’s because some people are being underpaid and they don’t want to rectify the situation.
      On the other side of the dime, if you were content before you found out Billy was getting more money than you, what exactly has changed ?
      Never worried me personally. If I’m not content with the value placed on me and I could be elsewhere then I go. If I am content, then I don’t give one what someone else is paid, best of luck to ’em.
      As far as your current job goes, if they get too obnoxious, ask them what they would do in your situation. When they lie, tell them so, their increase in salary justified or not shouldn’t be coming out of yours.
      Everyone has a right to withhold their own labour, no one has a right to withhold yours.
      If was safety, pension or something else common to the entire workforce that’s a whole different ball game.

      Strange attitude for a died in the wool socialist isn’t it.

      • #3072581

        I agree. Just stay out of it.

        by stress junkie ·

        In reply to Some places I’ve worked you are not meant to discuss

        If your coworkers have a problem then let them do what they want to do. You should stay out of it unless you agree with them and you want to lend your support. Don’t let them drag you into the confrontation. Make your own decision.

        Also keep in mind that the people who do get involved may eventually pay a penalty.

        • #3071465

          Eventually !

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to I agree. Just stay out of it.

          Strike and how much of a pay rise do you need and for how long to get back your lost wages.
          Your work force goes on strike, you can’t satify your customers how long if ever before you get them back.
          As soon as it comes down to industrial action, winners are your competitors and the people working for them.
          Seen it first hand 19 years in the steel industry and a lot of my family and it’s a big one were coal miners. Haven’t spotted any of them celebrating any victories, managers or those working for them.
          Definitely make your decision,, might as well you get the consequences either way.
          Before you go to battle though, how good a chance have you of winning and by how much, if little to none don’t bother, not for wages anyway, just leave.

        • #3071461

          I was thinking in terms of a political struggle

          by stress junkie ·

          In reply to Eventually !

          I wasn’t thinking about work strikes or unions. I was just thinking in terms of a group of people approaching a manager seeking higher wages. If the initial request is ignored, as it may be, then will the group escalate their efforts? Will they make a nuisance of themselves to the manager? Are they slowing down their rate of work? Are they calling in sick as a group? That sort of thing will drive a wedge between management and the workers and management will probably adopt an unflattering view of the group of workers involved in these actions.

          Unions are a slightly different story because all of these things are already built into the system. If ls smith works in a union shop then his question is moot. The issue of his involvment is already decided. If he is part of a union then they act as a group with or without the expressed consent of the individual people on each individual issue.

        • #3071282

          Union vs Management

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to I was thinking in terms of a political struggle

          I have been a member since 99, but it always seemed to me that both sides went out of their way to find something to fight about. If you do get vindictive management a good union is actually your best friend. If you get a vindictive union it’s your worst enemy.

    • #3073108

      That’s the rule in the public sector

      by dc guy ·

      In reply to Knowledge of other peoples salary info?

      You’ll have to get used to it. Everybody knows what everybody else makes. There are generally rules to prevent serious gripes, such as that you must make at least one dollar more than the highest-paid person in your command chain.

      Complaints never succeed in the public sector, so don’t even think about getting involved. The absolute best you could hope for is that nobody will remember that you participated. Governments don’t even respond to the needs of their constituents, so what makes anyone believe they will respond to the complaints of mere EMPLOYEES!

      It’s usually a quasi-socialist economy. People are rewarded primarily for longevity. The person at the top doesn’t make much more than ten times the salary of the person at the bottom. Everyone is treated the same: as if they’re not really there or if they are, they’re mute. This uniformity tends to keep complaining down. The way to get ahead is to stay alive and shut up, and everybody knows it.

      • #3073095

        Public Sector … Public Information

        by errk’d guy ·

        In reply to That’s the rule in the public sector

        I am in the public sector (state government). My state has
        something known as the “Sunshine Law” which among other
        things, makes pubic rates of pay, position classifications, years
        of service, previous employment history, etc. Since I have
        worked in government most of my adult career I have never
        really given it much thought, but have found it interesting how
        uncomfortable some private sector people become when
        discussing pay in a group setting. In my world, if you know what
        someone does you can guess or ask there “official classification”.
        From that you now have the range of their salary.

        Most governmental structures (like private sector) have pay
        ranges or bands associated with each job “Classification” which
        is then associated with a position. If you are part of a
        professional union, there are often mechanisms to file an official
        complaint or “grievence” stating that you are performing work
        outside your classification. If you are management, you usually
        need to resort to an “Office Politics” type of approach to correct
        the situation.

        Bottom line … if you are public sector MOST of your employment
        information is accessable via “Pubic Records Request”, save
        some insurance and SSN information. If you are happy with how
        you are paid then stay away from this band of malcontents. If
        you aren’t happy with your pay either use the internal review
        mechanisms available or find a better position where you are
        more fairly compensated. These types of confrontations can
        have a lasting effect on the office environment and social

        • #3073031

          It’s actually worse than this

          by amcol ·

          In reply to Public Sector … Public Information

          I joined the Federal government a year or so ago and had to file a financial disclosure form in which I had to list the sum and substance of my entire financial portfolio…what securities I owned, what mutual funds I owned, what securities my mutual funds owned. Coming from decades in the private sector, I found it to be very disconcerting and terribly intrusive. Imagine my dismay when I found out this information all becomes part of the public record, that anyone can find all this out about me simply with a FOIA filing (not that the details of my financial life are of interest to anyone, but that’s not the point).

          On the other hand, I was not required to specify exact amounts but merely ranges. It’s the same with salary…what’s public knowledge is the range, and the ranges in the public sector are sufficiently wide. The specific detail is no one’s business but your own.

          Those ranges aren’t so great, BTW. I’m here to tell you…no one gets rich on their Uncle Sam. The wage scale is decent but by no means competitive. The bulk of people I’ve met in public service consider the discharge of patriotic duty part of their compensation program. Not that that puts groceries on the table, but one must nourish one’s soul as well as one’s wallet.

          You’re right…we veterans of the private sector are very unhappy with having to disclose a tremendous amount of personal data. However, as employees of the government with responsibility for the public trust it’s important that we bring the issue of transparency down to the individual level, such that even the hint of impropriety can be either avoided or rooted out.

        • #3072973

          Just to make everyone

          by neil higgins ·

          In reply to It’s actually worse than this

          complain that their underpaid,here’s the Microsoft stock,share,and pay scales for the top people.All available in the public domain:

      • #3071392

        I agree with DC Guy

        by renaissance v ·

        In reply to That’s the rule in the public sector

        DC guy is right. Public Sector/Government/Civil Service does not follow the analogy of squeaky wheel getting the oil…they get replaced.

    • #3071489

      Reply To: Knowledge of other peoples salary info?

      by tonythetiger ·

      In reply to Knowledge of other peoples salary info?

      “Anyone heard of such a thing?”

      Other employees are taxpayers too. You work for them, so they are entitled to know how much you are being paid. I don’t know that there’s any law against obtaining anothers salary in the private sector (as long as the method used to obtain this information wasn’t illegal), but a private company is obliged to tell anyone (except the government, of course) what anybody’s salary is, the way a government agency would be.

      Advice: examine their point of view. Is it valid? Are they underpaid? After examining it, don’t do anything you don’t want to do.

      • #3071241


        by amcol ·

        In reply to Reply To: Knowledge of other peoples salary info?

        I think you have this exactly backward.

        A private company is NOT obliged to tell ANYONE, EXCEPT the government, what your salary is. They report your compensation information to the government annually so your taxes can be assessed correctly. However, no one is under any obligation, legal or otherwise and in the private and public sectors, to disclose their specific salary information to anyone.

        Public sector employees work for the taxpayers in the sense that our salaries are paid by your tax dollars, but the notion that we have to report how much we’re being paid to those same taxpayers is foolish. Are the shareholders of a public sector company entitled to know what each employee is earning? You can look in corporate financial statements to find out a total figure for compensation across the entire company, but everyone (other than the most senior levels of management) is legally entitled to financial privacy.

        • #3069892

          Reply To: Knowledge of other peoples salary info?

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to What?

          Yes, there was a “not” that I forgot to type 🙂

    • #3044158


      by reb413 ·

      In reply to Knowledge of other peoples salary info?

      As an IT professional, many of us have access to confidential accounting information including the salary data of fellow employees. As professionals, we work under an implied Code of Ethics to keep all such infromation confidential, including your own salary information. This confidentially remains in effect even after a change of jobs.

      What is really frustrating are those potential employers that ask for a salary history and will not consider a potential candidate if the slary history is not furnished.

      Do these employers actually consider that the person that supplys this information is breaking the Code of Ethics and should in fact be considered a security threat to their own company? Do they consider that their most confidential data can wind up published on the Internet or sold to any or all of their competitors?

      Of what use is it to a potential employer to know how much I was earning at another employer? If they have no idea what to pay, then they should use online resources to determine a fair wage for the position offered.

      This practice should stop and the only way to stop it is for all Professional IT people to refuse to provide the information and point out to the potential employer the ramifications of this practice.

    • #3116715

      It’s a government job, right?

      by realme ·

      In reply to Knowledge of other peoples salary info?

      Part of being a “civil servant” is that the taxpayers pay your wages. I work for a municipal govt in California. All salary schedules are public record. All anyone has to know is your job title to find out what the salary range is. They may or may not know my salary step but they can find out generally how much I make. For employees over $100,000, the names can be attached to the payroll if requested under the Public Records Act properly. I am also a union employee. You do not have to participate if you are satisfied with your income (I am and I don’t). You may or may not be labeled an outsider if you don’t participate, but if you participate against your better judgment, then you will be viewed as a pushover. Take your pick. Either stand up for yourself and what you believe in, or let other people push you around and make you do something you don’t feel comfortable doing. Your choice. Personally, I’d say something along the lines of “Gee, I really feel like I make an adequate salary, but support all of the rest of you in your endeavor. Good luck.” They may not like it, but you have bowed out gracefully.

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