Companies may not like transparency, but they cannot outright bar rank-and-file employees from disclosing their pay internally or externally, under the federal National Labor Relations Act, says employment lawyer Charles Caulkins of law firm Fisher & Phillips. That means that an employee handbook or social-media policy barring workers from disclosing their pay is generally a violation, he says. (The rules are different for managers and supervisors, who can legally be prevented from disclosing pay.)
Fisher & Phillips律师事务所的就业律师查尔斯•考金斯(Charles Caulkins)指出，企业或许不喜欢工资透明，但是根据联邦政府《全国劳工关系法案》(National Labor Relations Act)，企业并不能完全禁止普通员工在企业内部或外部透露自己的薪资。考金斯说，这意味着那些禁止员工透露自己薪资的员工手册或社交媒体政策基本上都违反了该法案。（针对经理和主管的规定有所不同，防止他们泄露工资水平是合法的。）
Ultimately, says Mr. Hallock, compensation is an inexact science, determined by labor-market conditions, company budgets and individual employees' performance and turnover risk. Companies use salaries and raises to retain their high performers, but measuring performance itself is in fields that defy simple metrics like widgets built or customer-service calls answered.
So one way for employers to head off internal politics: Be even more transparent.
New York data-analytics company SumAll makes pay scales and individual salaries open to everyone in the company. The company says that employees work more efficiently when no one is trying to guess whether their colleagues are making more than they are.
Workers and employers who support transparency argue that it helps ensure that people are paid fairly, and reduces discrimination based on gender or other characteristics.
Of course, not every employee is, or would be, willing to spill.
Lucy Bayly, 43, a copywriter for an advertising agency in Oneonta, N.Y., compares discussions about income with conversations about sex: 'You're dying to know, but it's too rude to ask.'
Such conversations run the risk of inspiring a corrosive kind of jealousy, she says. 'You think you're satisfied and then all of a sudden, you find out someone is paid a little more, and it ruins your day wondering, 'Have I settled?' '