Employment Policies Cannot Prohibit Employees from Discussing their Wages with their Co-Workers

A new Maryland law went into effect on October 1, 2016 that prohibits employers from making pay decisions based upon an employee’s sex or gender indemnity.  In furtherance of the purpose of the newly enacted Maryland Equal Pay for Equal Work Act of 2016 (“Act”), an employer cannot restrict their employees from talking about their salaries.   In particular, an employer is not allowed to prohibit its employees from inquiring about, discussing, or disclosing their wages or the wages of any other employee.  Pursuant to the new law, any efforts by the employer to take an adverse action against an employee because he/she has exercised his/her rights to discuss wages and/or to inquire about his/her wages, is a violation of the Act.

However, the Act does allow the employer to take steps to protect the integrity of the work environment.  Specifically, an employer can institute a written policy that establishes reasonable workday limitations on the time, place, and manner for inquires about or the discussion of disclosure of employee wages but these limitations need to be consistent with standards adopted by the Commissioner of Labor and Industry and all other state and federal laws.

Now is the time to review employment policies to ensure compliance with the new Act.

For more information on Maryland’s new Equal Pay for Equal Work Act of 2016, please contact Scott A. Mirsky at (301) 664-7710 or samirsky@mirskylawgroup.com.

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