Benefits and Compensation

New Nebraska Law Protects Employees When They Discuss Pay

A new law going into effect at the end of this month prohibits Nebraska employers from requiring employees not to disclose their wages as a condition of further employment.pay

Legislative Bill 217 prohibits Nebraska employers from discharging or otherwise retaliating against employees who have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed specific wage or comparative compensation information.

The measure, which takes effect on August 29, 2019, applies to all Nebraska employers that are subject to the Nebraska Fair Employment Practice Act, i.e., all Nebraska employers that have 15 or more employees for each working day in 20 or more calendar weeks during the current or preceding calendar year.

What New Law Doesn’t Cover

The law doesn’t apply to situations in which employees with authorized access to the employer’s information about wages, benefits, or other compensation—as part of their normal job functions—discloses the information to someone who doesn’t otherwise have authorized access to it, unless the disclosure is in response to a charge or complaint or in furtherance of a formal legal investigation or proceeding.

The new law also 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.

Mark M. Schorr is the editor of Nebraska Employment Law Letter. He can be reached at schorr@eslaw.com.