my new boss accidentally told everyone my salary

A reader writes:

I have a bit of an awkward situation and would like your advice. In a couple of days, I start a new job at a 10-person organization. The executive director of the new organization just sent out a very nice company-wide email introducing me. He mentioned a few things about me and added, “Please join me in also welcoming her to the team. We’re excited to have her. Attached is her resume.” Except, instead of my resume, he inadvertently attached my offer letter containing my salary. Yikes.

I immediately sent an email just to him, alerting him to the fact the attachment was my offer letter and reattaching my resume for quick reference. He has since sent a new email with my resume out, with a note saying “here is her resume for your review.” But he hasn’t sent anything directly to me about it. I don’t start until Monday, so I’m hoping maybe he’s waiting to say something in person.

I’m wondering how to be proactive in case anything awkward comes up on my first day. I feel like it is going to be the elephant in the room when I start.

Hoping I’m Paid the Same (or Less) than My Colleagues 

Wow, that’s awkward. And it’s lame that he didn’t apologize to you, as well as assure you that he’d make sure it didn’t cause any awkwardness with others.

Mistakes do happen. But when you’re dealing with something sensitive like salary information, you really need to take precautions to make sure that you don’t do something like this. And if a mistake happens and it does get released, then you really should take steps to try to clean up your mess. It’s possible that your new boss did take some sort of clean-up step, of course — but he should let you know if he did, because he should realize that you’re probably pretty taken aback by it.

The fact that he doesn’t realize that you’d be alarmed doesn’t speak fantastically well of him. It’s not the sort of thing that would make me tell you to run in the other direction, but you should brace yourself for the possibility that things aren’t done super professionally at this organization. Which, frankly, is pretty likely with a 10-person organization anyway, totally aside from this.

(Alternately, it’s possible that this is one of the rare organizations that makes everyone’s salary public, at least internally. There are some employers that do that, and some employees who like it. I’m guessing that doesn’t explain what happened here — it sounds like it was just a mistake — but you never know.)

In any case, at this point, I don’t think there’s much you can do other than to pretend it didn’t happen. If it does turn out that your salary is pretty different from other people’s and someone comments on it to you, I’d ignore it. If you feel like you have to respond — especially if the person is implying that you’re overpaid or something like that — then simply say, “I worked out my salary directly with Bob and don’t feel comfortable discussing it.”

But there’s a good chance that no one is going to comment to you at all about it, since doing that would take a willingness to be pretty rude.

{ 118 comments… read them below }

  1. Ivy*

    I come from a culture where salary is very openly talked about between coworkers and especially between friends and family. It’s actually considered somewhat rude to refuse to tell your salary to someone in an open discussion. Growing up with this, I think it’s kind of funny how big of a deal it is to discuss salary. I grew up where it was a perfectly normal topic of conversation. Although I do understand where you’re coming from since people can get miffed if they’re getting paid less or feel awkward if they’re making more. (Although to be honest, I think those feelings come out because it’s such a taboo topic to begin with.)

    1. Jamie*

      I don’t think those feelings come out because it’s a taboo topic. I think it’s because salary is a very clinical and empirical determination of how the company values your work. Putting a dollar figure on the value of people’s worth to the company…if you don’t fully agree with where you stand in that median (and many people don’t) it stands to reason it’s a touchy subject.

      I personally think salary is a private subject. Sending that out in an email would be just as intrusive to me as sending out my bra size or a pic of what I look like first thing in the morning…some things really should remain private.

      1. Ivy*

        This is a response to everyone.

        I’m not agreeing with what her boss did (sharing her salary information). I’m just musing on the differences in culture.

        Although I wouldn’t be happy about it, there are huge benefits to finding out someone else is making more than you in the same position (vs. not knowing at all). It would be a great eye opener. Maybe you’re working for a discriminatory company that pays white men more, in which case you’d want to get out of there asap. Maybe you’re terrible at negotiating and are short selling yourself which you’d want to know. Maybe you have an unrealistic understanding of the value you bring to the company, which again, you’d want to know. I think the lack of sharing is actually harming the individual (knowledge is more not less). IT Manager I totally agree that this allows employers to negotiate in a vacuum, and I’ll add that it allows the bad ones to take advantage of people. (Not that I’m trying to preach an “us vs. them” mentality).

        I have lived in North America for a while and I don’t know the salary of any of my friends, so I agree that people don’t share that information here, Workingmom. I’m just saying it’s not like that everywhere.

            1. AdAgencyChick*

              I think Evil HR Lady is on to something, too.

              Sure, I can imagine companies would hate having salaries be public knowledge because when a new person is hired at a higher salary than his/her compadres who have been at the company for years, people will get pissed and want to know why they aren’t making more money. And it would be harder to acquire a new person who’s been historically underpaid on the cheap, because that person would know what the company pays others with similar experience and expertise.

              On the other hand, I think it would also help to ease worker discontent in other ways. Without knowing salaries, this kind of thing happens a lot: Jane leaves early three times a week to pick her daughter up from day care. Jessie, who is single, has to cover for Jane after hours. Jessie is resentful and complains to their manager, not knowing that Jane has accepted a lower salary in exchange for this arrangement. If salaries were public, Jessie would know this and wouldn’t have any reason to be resentful. Same goes for a top performer who might resent an average or below average worker’s being allowed to stay, but who might be perfectly content if s/he knew that both people’s salaries reflect their relative performance.

              1. K*

                I will say, that when I found out (because the person in question told me; not through a breach of employer privacy) that the person whose work I had been picking up the slack on all year didn’t get a raise while I did, it made me feel a bit better about the whole thing.

        1. fposte*

          I’m in a workplace where salaries are public knowledge, so I get what you’re saying (though actually here most people don’t bother to look–one of the advantages of openness is it makes the information less interesting). But a situation where only *one* person’s information is disclosed is very different from openness across the board.

      2. Joey*

        But, why wouldn’t you want to know how valued you really are? It becomes really easy to justify a raise when you’re a top performer. And it’s a whole lot easier to explain wage decisions as a manager. The only caveat is as an employer you have to have your shit together. Otherwise its really obvious when you don’t.

        1. Jamie*

          I see the logic of transparency – I really do. And yes, it would make negotiations much easier and there is absolutely a case to be made for it. My husband is a cop – it’s not like his salary is a secret to the world.

          I guess for me it’s just so personal – so my response isn’t coming from a business sense (which I should have stated) but just a primal, visceral feeling of noooooo – that’s private.

          Kind of like how it would feel to come to work naked.

          I just know how judgy people can be and it would bother me to have one more thing out there on which to be ranked. I do remember reading Suzanne’s article when it was originally posted and I think I agreed with it – and in theory I do.

          I’m just not sure I could get over the naked at work feeling of having it known, though.

          1. Joey*

            In my experience managers make much smarter wage decisions when they’re transparent. It’s a whole lot harder to hide a poor decision.

            1. Jamie*

              Not that I’m a lemming or a sheeple or anything – but this may be the quickest turnaround I’ve done on a topic in quite some time.

              I think we all (I hope it’s not just me) have visceral knee-jerk reactions to things based on how uncomfortable they make us – without stopping to examine whether the thing is the problem or the fact that we’re uncomfortable for some strange conditioned reason.

              1. A Bug!*

                It’s not just you! But I think with me at least, my discomfort with having my income known is not that I care if people know how much (little!) I make, it’s that I know that some people are way too interested in the private affairs of others. But if everybody knew everybody else’s salary (and presuming that the salaries are fairly determined), then they would all of a sudden become far less interesting.

                1. Jamie*

                  You know, I think that’s what it is – the interest in what’s private.

                  Because my husband as a government employee has no secrets when it comes to salary and it doesn’t bother him at all.

                  But the transition from private to transparent would be brutal because of the initial bout of interest and intense scrutiny.

          2. Anon*

            I can totally see that you would feel it’s personal. When I started my job just after college I thought I must have been the lowest paid in the department because they initially accepted my salary request without negotiating. Later I was talking to a coworker about winning the lottery. She wanted to win a scratchoff $1k a week for life or something like that. I mentioned what it would be after taxes and she remarked that it would be more than she made now. WOW! That’s less than half what I made!

            While it’s really personal, it protects everyone from cheap skeevy employers. That experience really changed my mind about pay transparency.

        2. Snow Hill Pond*

          There are so many (mostly unintended) bad things that could happen, I think it’s just pragmatic to keep salaries private.

    2. The IT Manager*

      +1 I have always worked for one the US government organization or another, and people could always figure out my salary (very close it anyway) by knowing my level and years of service. I am actually grateful that I’ve never had to neogoiate salary when starting a job, and I know if I want a signifigant pay increase, I have to be promoted to a higher level of responsibility. I find this taboo on it’s face value to be silly.

      I think the taboo exists because both people and companies would prefer that others not know what an employee makes. People because they don’t want others to know that they might have neogiated badly. And companies because they want the employees to neogiate in a vacum.

    3. Workingmom66*

      Wow. If I found out that someone at my level was making more than I was I would be extremely disturbed. Especially if that person was a man as we all still live in a culture of non-equal pay for equal work. I have never known of anyone professionally to be open about salary to co-workers or even counterparts at other companies. I’ve been working full-time, out of college, for more than 23 years.

      But that said if it were me whose salary was leaked and someone asked me about it I think the advise here is perfect, I would probably ignore.

        1. A Bug!*

          Well, she did say “someone at my level”.

          But you do bring up a good point. People should be alive to the issue of gender-based wage discrimination, because systemically there’s a lot of evidence that it does exist. But on an individual, case-by-case basis, it’s very important to examine the circumstances carefully to ensure that there’s not a justifiable, non-discriminatory reason for a pay discrepancy.

          1. Steve*

            If women in general do the same work as men for less money, wouldn’t the most profitable companies be staffed mostly or entirely by women?

            1. Yvi*

              No. There are discriminatory reasons for why women are paid less. Employers think they are less capable, that they will have children and leave, that they don’t focus on their jobs as much as men do, and etc.

            2. Jamie*

              And there are totally non-discriminatory reasons why a woman may be paid less as well.

              I started my career 15 years later than someone who wasn’t a SAHM until well into their 30’s. So of course my earning power is less than that of a man or a woman who had entered the workforce right out of college. I have less experience – by over a decade.

              That will absolutely lower my earning power for the rest of my life – but that’s not discriminatory. That’s a result of a choice I made, and one I would gladly make again.

              That’s not to say I’d be okay with making less than a man if all other things were equal between us (experience, skills, etc.) – I would not.

              But when you look at statistics of what “women make” compared to “what men make” it’s important to understand that included in the stats are those who chose to take time off from their careers for a while and that’s disproportionally women. So in order for those statistics to have real meaning we need studies on men and women with similar career paths without skewing the data for those who opted out for years at a time.

              1. Runon*

                “Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students” in google should get you the study as the first article.

                The exact same resume, the women get paid less (about 4K at the start of their career, this will impact them for the rest of their careers), mentored less, they appear less competent; but hey they are more likable.

                Because the name on the resume is Jennifer instead of John.

      1. class factotum*

        I have worked for several Fortune 100 companies and have found that my salary has been the same as the men who were hired when I was. These were companies with good HR departments and structured recruiting practices.

  2. KarenT*

    I find his attaching your offer letter to be so careless! It’s possible in an office that small that everyone already knew, but seriously, his attitude about it seems very cavalier. Of course mistakes happen, but I would be questioning how he treats other sensitive information.
    Also, I don’t love his distributing your resume like that. Did he bother to remove your address and phone number?

  3. SMCR*

    Did OP think that the salary negotiations were unusually difficult/contentious? I’m not saying that this is a Freudian slip, in that the hiring manager thought that OP was getting too high a salary (especially since he didn’t have to agree to it!), but the lack of even a quick apology (“So sorry! We’re so excited to have you join us, I am over-sharing!”) is vaguely troubling. I’m overly sensitive to this, I think, because I once worked for a CEO who seemed to resent everyone’s salary, no matter what the level, and took every opportunity to claim that so-and-so was overpaid.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      There are definitely CEOs like that! I’d be surprised if it were the explanation here though; the last thing he’d want would be for other employees to use this as fodder to ask for their own raises!

  4. BA*

    I think it sucks your new boss was so clumsy but what can do at this point but suck it up and ignore it? I suppose it could affect how people treat you if you make a lot more than they do but that’s out of your control too. Since you don’t know these people, you wouldn’t really know if they were treating you poorly or not anyway (unless it’s blatant).

    1. AB*

      Precisely my thoughts too. Nothing that can be done now to contain any discomfort that could come from people earning less at a similar role.

      I never had a problem sharing my salary, but can understand how some people would be sensitive around this topic, especially if they feel they are substantially under or overpaid.

    2. Long Time Admin*

      I agree, and the only thing the OP can do is show people why she’s worth that much money. (We have a new manager at our company, where we’ve had serious and severe layoffs over the past year, but he’s already proving to be worth whatever he’s getting paid.)

  5. Anonymous*

    Awkward. I recently started a new job and make more than my coworkers. They complain about being paid $14/hr after working here for 20 years. I came on at $20/hr. I sit far enough away to sink lower into my seat and disappear behind my cubicle wall.

    1. A Bug!*

      Are they performing the same duties as you at the same level you are? In other words, are they giving as much value to the company as you are?

      If they are, and you’re able to do this without tipping off the wage discrepancy, you might be doing your coworkers a solid to encourage them to ask for a raise.

      Like, next time they complain about their wages, something like “You have been here a pretty long time! Maybe you should ask for a raise.”

      But the fact of the matter is that maybe these employees aren’t worth more to the company than $14 an hour. I’d wonder why these folks haven’t looked around for new jobs as it sounds like they’re not even getting cost-of-living increases if they’re only making that much after 20 years.

      1. Anonymous*

        I am in a more elevated position than they are, but I’m also 30 years younger with only 4 years of work experience combined in my whole adult life. The nature of the job has evolved over time… and they have not adapted so well. I have basically taken over and streamlined everything in the office that is not data entry. I understand why they do pay me more, but I don’t want to go spreading it around.

        1. Mike C.*

          I think it only fair that folks understand what it takes to get a raise. It’s your choice, but it’s soul draining when you don’t know and aren’t told what it takes to make more money.

          1. jill*

            That’s the manager’s responsibility, though, and not the peer’s, right? Certainly it makes sense to give constructive advice if your colleagues are wondering why you’ve have been successful where they haven’t, but determining the bar of excellence to advance (roles, financially, etc.) should probably happen with the manager.

            1. Mike C.*

              I’m not trying to assign responsibility, I’m just saying it would be a really nice thing to do. Maybe a good way to gain favor with the others.

        2. A Bug!*

          Oh, of course not. No need to rub anything in their faces! I just wasn’t sure if your situation was different compensations for different values or different compensations for the same value. While you wouldn’t have any obligation in either case, if it were the latter I know I at least would feel a little bad for it.

          Thanks for clarifying!

    2. tangoecho5*

      My co-worker was at her last job over 10 years. Her department had an opening come up so my co-workers sister applied and got the job. It was an industry specific job and they were willing to train her. Well come to find out, when comparing salaries later, the sister started out at almost $3.00 more an hour than my co-worker was making. Well my co-worker was mad! She did a good job for them and had great reviews and got pay raises every year. When asked, they said it’s not due to her work. It’s just when she started with the company, the pay structure and compensation was figured differently and nowadays they want to attract and retain employees so are paying more starting.
      Those who already there are just tough out of luck because they will not increase everyones pay across the board to match what new employees make in the same position. Needless to say, my coworker started looking for another job.
      It’s kinda like cable companies. They do more to get new customers than they do to retain customers. So it’s best to get the most money you can going into the job.

      1. Anonymous*

        That’s why I left my last job actually. Temps were paid more than full time employees because they didn’t get benefits. When the temps got hired they got a raise, too. Psht!

        1. Jamie*

          Was that their actual pay or bill rate?

          Because at a former job I saw total outrage when a supervisor accidentally left a report showing temp labor dollars and it was seen by operators. There were probably 25 absolutely furious employees thinking that temps were getting 11-13 dollars an hour when they were making less…but the bill rate includes the mark-up to the agency. They weren’t taking that amount home.

          I remember my first temp assignment opening the mail and there was the bill from my agency for me and being shocked at that the company was paying for me. It was $8 an hour more than I was making. That was when I learned the lesson that one can sometimes negotiate pay rate with the agency.

          1. Anonymous*

            This is all take home pay.
            The way it worked was the original people came on as temps at $12.50/hr. After 2-3 YEARS we all finally got hired and a “raise” to $13.50/hr. When we grew, they hired new temps at $13.50/hr. We trained them to do the monkey’s work for our same pay while we did numerous other tasks. For a busy season a new batch of temps were hired at $14.50 “by accident.” The “old” temps were furious (it was posted online) and all started complaining and the company changed all the temps’ pay to $14.50. We lowly permanent workers got a “cost of living adjustment” to $14.15. After about a year –new temps were let go, “old temps” were hired and got ANOTHER RAISE to $15.50/hr! The ones who spoke spanish made even more….more than the supervisors who came from the batch of us originals. We didn’t even have a spanish line… And they didn’t give extra pay for everyone who spoke another language. That’s when I left.

  6. COT*

    I know that if I had made a blunder like that about someone I was excited to hire, I’d be doing my very best to smooth it over so they’d still want to come work for me!

  7. some1*

    Even attaching your resume seems odd for a “Welcome Our New Employee” email, since it contains so much more than anyone besides HR or someone in hiring *needs* to know. I have been in professional settings over a decade and have never gotten an email like this with a resume attached, the Hiring Manager will just include a couple sentences like, “Jane holds a BA in Chocolate Teapot Making from StateU and has an extensive background in Teapots. Jane joins us from her most recent position as Teapot Manager at Teapot Systems.”

    1. Jamie*

      I don’t know – in a 10 person company I can where it could be advantageous for everyone to see what her skill set and experience is coming in.

      I mean in a larger company 10 people probably see the resumes of candidates during the interview process.

      It seems clumsy to me, not nefarious.

      1. some1*

        Do they need the LW’s home address and personal phone number as well? A lot of people have that on their resumes, too.

        1. fposte*

          Would it hurt if they did, though? It would seem weird to me to keep your residence secret from your colleagues in a 10-person office.

          1. Rana*

            Really? Remember that at this point the OP doesn’t know these people well enough to gauge whether they’re likely to call the OP at 3am or show up on their doorstep some day.

            1. fposte*

              Unless she’s suppressed her address so that it’s not on the internet, I don’t see the issue.

              I’m not saying somebody’s therefore not allowed to be taken aback by it–a reaction’s a reaction, and if you did want to suppress your information just because you’re like that, I think it should be your prerogative. But these people are going to be sitting in a room with your purse and your credit cards and handling your social security and I-9 forms, and they probably already saw your resume once. I don’t see the provision of an address on a resume as being a tipping point.

            2. Rana*

              Huh. I’ve never worked any place where my address was common knowledge to anybody other than HR. The most it got spread around was if there was a directory for staff, and even then you usually had the option to opt out of sharing your address or personal phone number.

              Didn’t we just have this discussion?

        2. Jamie*

          When you send your resume anywhere you no longer control who has access to it. I’ve been forwarded tons of resumes in my career for feedback or interview prep and I’ve never seen info redacted.

          I’m not really sure why the concern for confidentiality regarding a document people send to strangers all the time.

          1. some1*

            I understand if I submit my resume to an employer that they are going to use it as a tool whether they wish to interview me. I wouldn’t expect that my resume would be used as an introductory document for new co-workers and managers. Otherwise my resume would be a cut & paste of my Linkedin profile.

    2. Lily in NYC*

      That’s a really good point. I don’t like the idea of my resume being shared with the entire office.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      It’s not uncommon in small offices like that (and as Jamie says, in a larger company, you’d probably have 10 people seeing the resume just during the hiring process, if not more).

      1. some1*

        Yes, but if the resume had been passed around to all 10 people already while they were making a hiring decision, why would the manager need to send it now as an introduction?

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Yeah, at OldJob, I had nothing to do with hiring, but if you dropped off a resume, or filled out an application, or mailed a resume, I saw it. I was the front desk person, and the one who opened the mail, and I would indeed leave a post-it on your app if you were rude to me.

    4. Lulu*

      Agreed. If I’ve wanted to know more about someone, I’ve just gone to LinkedIn to get the full 411. It seems a little obnoxious to share a resume. However, given my experience with very small offices, not unusually obnoxious for that type of environment – usual “rules” don’t seem to apply. (Which may also relate to the importance or lack thereof in the inadvertent salary share…)

      1. -X-*

        The reason we share resumes is to present a summary of a person’s previous work in their own estimation. Why is that obnoxious?

        1. Oxford Comma*

          I come from academia so admittedly my perspective is a little different. I cannot begin to count the number of times I have been required to share my cv. It is requested at the drop of a hat. There are probably tons of people who have access now to my home phone number and address, but then I’m listed in the phone book, so really? I don’t think that’s an issue. When we have candidates come in for interviews, it is de rigeur that their resume or cv be available to anyone who sees them at any point during the hiring process.

    5. The IT Manager*

      Hmmm … I can’t say I ever saw this happen per se (resume sent out), but I can’t figure out why people would be upset about their resume being released to co-workers. It’s a resume designed to be submitted and passed around to a lot of different companies and people while job hunting. It doesn’t contain secret or PII except for email, phone number, and address. And for me, the release of that info is not a concern. I understand it might be for some, but it would be best for them to not place their primary one on their resume if that’s a concern because a resume is designed to be passed around.

  8. Henning Makholm*

    I’ve always thought the hush-hush about salaries was something employers forced upon the employees, because it puts employees at a disadvantage in individual salary negotiations if they can be stopped from comparing notes to get a concrete idea of what this employer is prepared to pay for this kind of work exactly.

    If the hiring manager here looks at it the same way I do, he may look at the slip-up as something that harms his side exclusively. It may not have crossed his mind that the OP would be expecting an apology for accidentally harming his own ability to lowball her and/or her coworkers in future negotiations.

    1. quix*

      I think getting employees to internalize the idea that their salaries are private has been a win for businesses in general, since it does hurt employees’ ability to negotiate.

      There’s a reason it’s illegal under labor laws to prevent employees from discussing salary. The article linked above sums it up nicely.

    2. Mike C.*


      Seriously, this is the only reason why you would want to keep salaries private. After all, you should be able, within a reasonable range, say how much someone is making based off of experience, skill set, labor demand and a bit of fudge room for productivity.

  9. Maggie*

    This is a huge red flag for me. I would make sure to never reveal personal info while working for this guy. I can easily imagine him sending an email like this ” Jane will be out of the office for an extended amount of time. She will be having daily appointments with her doctor, Jane has a bad case of the ickys. She hopes to work in a few visits at the prison where her cousin is serving a life sentence. No point in calling her at home, Jane does not answer the phone in case it is another bill collector.”

    1. Jamie*

      I feel so bad for our fictional “Jane” that we use to illustrate everything from what a horrible employee she is to her medical cooties, and bad credit. :)

      If she were real her life would be a total mess!

      1. AdAgencyChick*

        Ha! I knew I wasn’t the only one who’s thought, “Why is every hypothetical screwup employee named Jane?” :)

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I know! I started doing it and now I can’t stop. Occasionally I’ve used names from Battlestar Gallactica or Breaking Bad, but this Jane is really stuck in my head.

          1. K*

            With a bonus that pretty much everyone on both those shows would be the Worst Employee Ever! (Except Helo, who would be great.)

  10. Suz*

    This reminded me of something similar to that happened to me years ago. It was annual merit raise time at my former employer. HR accidentally sent me an email intended for my manager that contained the salaries and merit increases for all of his staff. I told my manager about the mistake but I never told any of my coworkers that I found out how much they made.

    I was in a very male dominated field and at the time I was the only woman there who wasn’t an admin. I found out I made more than ALL of the men at my level. Score!

  11. Kou*

    I don’t know how off base this is, but since the organization is so small, is there any chance that everyone already knows what the new hire would be making because they had to budget it, talked about it as an org before hiring, etc? Maybe he didn’t think to apologize since in his mind, these were all people involved in the process who would logically already have to know what money was going where.

    1. Judy*

      That’s what I’m wondering. Not specifically a non-profit, but certainly at my church, the budget is published and available to the congregation. So we know how much the minister makes in salary and benefits, how much the secretaries, custodians (weekday + Sunday), and education director make.

      I get newsletters from our local Habitat organization, I’ll have to pay attention to see if they just lump everything into “salaries” or list each salary separate next year.

      1. class factotum*

        Exactly. Although I don’t know how much my three colleagues make, I had to work on the b udget this year and saw how much had been allocated for salary and benefits. I know my salary and I know how much HR allocates toward my benefits (because they included that in the offer letter to get the compensation number out of the basement), so I can make some decent guesses about what everyone else makes.

      2. JT*

        Salary information of the top handful of employees of US tax-exempt organizations (except churches) is generally public information. For private tax-exempt organizations, it can be found on the organization’s 990 form.

    1. Josh S*

      Ooh! AND I only have to subscribe “Only replies to my comments” once and it takes care of all my comments on that post. This is excellent!

      Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming!

        1. Josh S*

          Oops! Spoke too soon…tried to subscribe to just my replies and I’m getting all new comments.

          Thank you for working on this!

  12. Bella*

    Yeah, I also work for a public University where thanks to our Gov it is now on a public website. It was always public but hard to find if you looked. Once we all saw it alot of us were shocked to see what others were paid. Also, when we met a new collegue it was ok lets look them up to see their salary.

    Now it seems to have blown over and not a big deal.

  13. Mike C.*

    My company is huge, and here’s what we see for salaries:

    Sort by Title/Level/Location
    Returns: Lowest/Median/Highest for the salary.

    This information is great, and I wish more companies would be as transparent. There’s no shame in being on the low end of a pay band – I’m there and I just means I have plenty of room to grow. Further more, it protects against a whole lot of discrimination that can take place.

    Heck, if it were up to me, I’d remove personally identifying information from tax returns and make those public as well. Some countries do, and it’s no big deal. Transparency is a good thing, and it helps to keep things fair for everyone.

  14. VictoriaHR*

    I’m all for transparency in salary reporting – as long as there’s a standard salary at that company, and everyone at the same level makes X amount, and the only difference is via years of service. For example, starting rate for a Graphic Designer is $35000/year. That’s it. So when a new GD is brought on, you know it’s going to be $35k. If the industry standard is raised and the company needs to start offering more for entry level of that position, they raise everyone to the minimum if necessary.

    1. Mike C.*

      The principle is sound, but I think you need a little wiggle room for things like the results of reviews, productivity and so on. You can still keep a tight range or allow for levels of progression to reflect increased responsibilities within a similar job type, Graphic Designer 1/2/3 and so on.

    2. Joey*

      That’s a system that’s heavy on tenure rewards and light on performance rewards. A set starting rate doesn’t work either because some bring more valuable skills. I really don’t like tenure rewards because they become expected regardless of performance. A strictly performance based system should take care of everything if you consider that the longer someone stays the more valuable they become up to a point.

      1. Mike C.*

        The idea of rewarding someone for sticking around (in addition to performance) is that you’re paying for the fact you don’t have to train someone else for the job, and that the time and money put into the particular person continues to pay dividends.

        This is especially important within niche organizations where people acquire a lifetime of experience.

        1. V*

          This, and there’s also the fact that an employee who is doing the same job from year 1 to year 2 without any increase in pay is actually experiencing a pay *cut*, considering that prices continue to increase.

        2. Joey*

          You can also look at the flip side- that when you start you’re actually not worth the salary you’re being paid because you’re learning. I just think that if you base rewards off of tenure your worth levels off and plateaus pretty quickly. The skills you gain off of just being there incrementally get smaller and smaller as time goes by. So after you’re trained the only real way to significantly increase your worth is to perform above ever increasing expectations.

          1. Jamie*

            Yep – value apex.

            On an employee’s first day they have negative value for the company – as they are taking up training resources and not adding productivity.

            Unless your company is also expanding at some point an employee will hit their value apex or value convergence – depending on the employee. The length of the curve depends on multiple factors like the level of the position, the skill level of the position, the size of the company, etc.

            And when it gets to the point where you’re contributing so much that performing above expectations won’t be of benefit to the organization – it’s time to examine if you’ve outgrown the job or the company.

            We should accept that this will happen for some high performers once they are contributing their particular skill set at full capacity.

        3. Jamie*

          The idea of rewarding someone for sticking around (in addition to performance) is that you’re paying for the fact you don’t have to train someone else for the job

          I agree that minimizing the cost of turnover and keeping good employees is crucial. IMO this is addressed via a bonus rather than a raise if a reward is warranted.

          Merit raises are critical, imo, and should keep your top performers working for a salary commensurate with where they rank in their market.

          But if you give merit raises merely for remaining a good stable employee you don’t have to replace you risk overcosting the position. If a position is worth $15 an hour for the value it adds and I start at $12. Well after 3 merit raises of a dollar I’m now at what the position is worth which is totally fair for a good performer. I’m just as good for the next 3 years, but if you gave me a merit raise of $1 for each now I’m making $18 an hour for a position which is still only worth $15 to the company. I’m not a loss.

          However – bonuses that are given for consistent performance are fine because they still reward monetarily – which is the best reward imo – but they don’t result in pricing you out of your position or causing you to hit a ceiling where there are no more merit raises because you’ve maxed out.

          It’s just important to keep in mind that it’s more than just the performance of the employee which determines salary – it’s also how much value the position itself lends to the company.

          1. Jamie*

            I meant to say addressed by a bonus rather than merit raise AFTER they have hit the cost/value apex for the position. I’m fully in favor of merit raises if below that point.

  15. Amouse*

    Did anyone else find it odd that he would attached her resume to the welcome e-mail? I would find that odd. A little paragraph from your department or HR about your background, sure, but attaching a whole resume?

  16. HR Pufnstuf*

    It sounds to me the boss dragged and dropped the wrong file. A simple ugly mistake most likely the result of being tech challenged.

  17. ChristineH*

    I didn’t pick up on the resume thing until people pointed it out…yup, that is odd.

    I’m also a little leery that he didn’t apologize for the error when you emailed him back about it. I’m very nitpicky when it comes to little errors like that, but I get that mistakes happen, and I really appreciate it when the person who erred sincerely acknowledges it.

  18. Ponies!*

    Count me among the folks that would be a little weirded out by having my resume shared among my new coworkers. I get that it may be common at smaller companies, but it’s not the kind of thing I share with just everybody. At every place I’ve worked, resumes have been treated as fairly private. I’m assuming this is to prevent people from comparing/contrasting their accomplishments to yours, “why did they hire her, she hasn’t even done x, y, z?” etc. I’d prefer people get to know my skills and abilities based on what I bring to the table now – and let me make reference to things I may have done in the past if they’re relevant. The way I’d present those things to my boss is different than the way I’d present them to a coworker in some instances.

    At my company, managers (or execs, depending) typically send an introductory email with a few bullets about the new hire’s past – personally and professionally – so that everyone gets a sense of the talent the new person is bringing to the table. I find that much more palatable than sharing my detailed work history and accomplishments with everyone. Maybe I’m just sensitive?

    I do, however, wish that more companies made salary information public. I think it’s just done primarily so they can get away with lowballing people as much as possible (maybe that’s my time spent in HR showing itself?). We used to publish “salary ranges,” and finally stopped doing that because so many people were WAY below the bottom of the range. Defeating.

    1. Jamie*

      Resumes are often reviewed by people who will be your co-workers even before the interview. It’s not just the hiring manager or HR. I find this interesting because I’ve never heard of anyone having privacy expectations for a resume before.

      And I don’t know what you mean by presenting your experience differently to your boss and your co-workers – but for me I am who I am and my experience is what it is – that doesn’t change based on my audience. I think I’m missing something.

      1. Ponies!*

        Herm. You make a good point about potential coworkers seeing your resume as part of the hiring process, although that’s not how it’s usually done in my particular field. It may just be because the companies I’ve worked for have typically had a culture of discretion when it comes to resumes, and I’ve absorbed that attitude. I asked Mr. Ponies his thoughts on the subject (we’ve both worked for the same companies, though in different fields), and he had the same reaction I did — it makes him uncomfortable, but it’s hard to articulate exactly why. Maybe it’s just what you’re used to? Like the folks that work for companies where the culture is to share salaries think it’s weird for others to get all hung up about sharing it.

        As far as presenting my skills and my accomplishments differently for a potential manager or business partners than I would my new teammates, it’s not that it would be dramatically different. I look at my resume as my “look how great I am! I would be amazing at this job because I have done this and this and this!” document (oversimplifying obviously), and that’s not how I’d present myself to my peers. Not because there’s something wrong with it, it’s just not my personality and would make me uncomfortable. And in the past, I’ve had new teammates throw a little shade my way because they didn’t think I had enough experience with X or whatever.

        1. Jamie*

          I can see that – it’s all what you’re used to. That’s been a real eye opener for me reading AAM because I also would assume something was just the way it was done because it was my experience – and seeing how different other industries are is really enlightening.

          And I have developed a complete and total fear of academia since the rules are so different. Fortunately for me I don’t have the credentials to get into the land of academia so I won’t have to worry. :)

          I see what you mean about presenting in a slightly more subdued way to colleagues as opposed to a resume. But if they’re working they all get how a resume functions. I mean I’d personally be okay with all my co-workers seeing mine because I don’t care, but I still wouldn’t go up to one and start listing all my accomplishments.

  19. tangoecho5*

    We are hiring for an empty position in our department and apparently, somehow, the list of the final applicants names and interview times was sent to a mailbox readable by a number of people in my company. It’s a protected mailbox too where anything deleted needs to be done by IT so it’s not like HR could go into it and just delete the email. While not as horrifying as having your salary made public to your co-workers it still is a bit distressing. Now we know who applied, etc, which compromises the applicants privacy. And those who had friends or family apply for the job now feel they need to break the bad news that their loved ones didn’t make it to the final round. My company sends thanks but no thanks emails but only after the final interviews just in case they decide they want to bring more people in to interview.

  20. glennis*

    I work for a public employer and I can find out the salary of anybody in my organization in a matter of minutes…..except for one thing that remains opaque, which is what step they’re brought in at.

    It’s a five step salary schedule, and if a hiring manager wanted to give a bump to a qualified employee for the purposes of recruitment, she could start the person at a step higher than Step One – with HR’s approval, of course. But other than that, as long as I know how long a person has been working at the job, I can tell you to the penny how much they’re making.

    Budget analysts have access not only to salary info on employees in their area of responsibility, but also to the cost of that employees actual benefit costs.

  21. Lindsay*

    I’m an hourly worker, but when I was hired at my most recent position I was hired on at a significantly higher hourly wage than others in my same or similar position – I’ve been there for about six months and am making about $4 an hour more than people who have been with the company in similar positions for five years or more. It also means that my paychecks are probably similar to those of some of salaried management, and that I will make more during times of the year when we have overtime available than them.

    I was specifically told when I was hired to not mention what I make to anyone because it would be a source of contention.

    However, I’ve since become aware that a ton of people know what I make. All management, but people who have no need to know what I make. And I became aware because they make little comments about it.

    Nothing disparaging, just… like they feel the need to let me know they know. One jokingly made a comment that we might as well not have opened one day because we barely covered payroll. I pointed out that we more than covered payroll – that we had made enough to cover 8 workers’ pay for the day and we only had three on. He turned around, looked me in the eye, and said, “8 normal employees”. I said, “I’m not saying anything”, and he then asserted “That’s right. I know how much you make.”

    Another time I was out with some friends who work at a different property and they were talking about some of the difficulties they face. (They are all salaried and I am not). They asked if we had the same problems at my property, and I said that we didn’t seem to have anywhere near the same magnitude, and then admitted that I wouldn’t know for sure however because I have my boss above me and said “He gets paid to deal with all that stuff, and he does his job well so it doesn’t wind up affecting me one way or another.” One of them then turned around and said, “You get paid about as much as he does.”

    I never know how to respond to these comments. I also don’t know whether or not I should say something to my boss about these people knowing how much I make. Since he is close to both of the people making the comments I feel like he probably told them, though conceivably they both could have come across the information performing employee maintenance tasks in our employee/labor management system.

    I don’t really care about people knowing what I make. I do care about people making awkward comments about what I make.

    1. Rana*

      Ugh. I’m sorry that you’re having to deal with that. Would a bland, “Well, my boss doesn’t seem to have a problem with what I’m getting, so if you have a problem with it, perhaps you should take it up with him?” work? Or an equally bland acknowledgement plus change of subject: “Yes, that’s probably true. What do you think we should do about this contract?”

      In any case, you may want to give a head’s up to your boss that the cat is out of the bag now.

  22. sri*

    Greetings all –

    I am not sure if this is the right forum to post this question. Please excuse, if it is not.

    Is it common practice in organizations to let co-workers know that an employee is in an performance improvement program? In my colleague’s organization, the manager forwarded an email from another supervisor who was leaving to all the members of the team. The email also contained some information about an employee’s progress as he was in a PIP. I find that totally inappropriate. Do the members concur? Also, does the employee have any legal recourse as his reputation has been tarnished amongst his colleagues.

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