Beginning this September, Nebraska employers are now subject to a new employment law, Legislative Bill 217. This bill prohibits Nebraska employers from requiring employees not to disclose their wages as a condition of further employment, under the Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act. The law bars Nebraska employers from discharging or otherwise retaliating against employees who have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed specific wage or comparative compensation information.
What Doesn’t This Law Cover?
There are a couple of key situations under which this new law doesn’t protect an employee when discussing pay. The law doesn’t apply to situations in which employees with authorized access to the employer’s information about wages and compensation – as a part of their normal job functions – discloses this information to someone who doesn’t otherwise have authorized access to it. Unless this disclosure is in response to a charge or complaint or in furtherance of a formal legal investigation or proceeding.
Similarly, the new law does not:
- Create an obligation for an employer or employee to disclose information about employees’ wages, benefits, or other compensation.
- Permit an employee without the employer’s written consent, to disclose proprietary information, trade secret information, or information that’s otherwise subject to a legal privilege or protected by law. The law provides that proprietary information doesn’t include details about employees’ wages, benefits, or other compensation.
- Permit an employee to disclose information about employees’ wages, benefits, or other compensation to a competitor of the employer.
- Permit an employee to discuss information about employees’ wages, benefits, or other compensation during working hours, as defined in existing workplace policies, or in violation of specific contractual obligations.
- Permit an employee to disseminate information about employees’ wages, benefits, or other compensation to the general public.
Additionally, the law doesn’t apply to employers who are exempt from the Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act and doesn’t create an obligation on either the employer or employee for disclosure of compensation information.
As a Nebraska employer, it’s vital you understand this law and how it will affect both you and your employees. Also, make sure to update Employee Handbooks and other employment documents and notices with this new law. And, if you need additional help, contact me, Roxy Kolev at Roxy@theolsongroup.net, HRconsulting@theolsongroup.net, or 402.289.1046.