Can I fire an employee if they disclose my salary to another employee?

Rita Risser Chai replies:

It depends on how the employee became aware of your salary. If you told the employee your salary, then it doesn’t seem like you were treating your salary as private information, so you can’t complain if they don’t treat it as private. On the other hand, if they found out because part of their job is to handle this confidential information, then they would be in violation of company rules of confidentiality. This should be treated the same way other violations are handled. Presumably, most violations do not result in immediate termination. In any event, you should not be making the decision about discipline or termination, because you are emotionally involved in the situation. Your manager (with HR) should make the decision.

Posted 07-18-2017

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Rita M. Risser Chai is the founder of Fair Measures. An attorney in California for 20 years and now an attorney in Hawaii, she authored the Prentice Hall book, Stay Out of Court! The Manager’s Guide to Preventing Employee Lawsuits. She developed most of the curriculum used by Fair Measures, created the firm’s first website praised in HR Magazine, and wrote numerous articles on employment law including one on best practice harassment prevention training published in the magazine of the American Society for Training and Development (now ATD). She taught Law and Human Resources at the University of California, Santa Cruz, for eight years, and has presented four times at the annual conventions of the Hawaii Society of Human Resource Management.