Colorado loses the plot

Jun 30 2009 by Derek Torres Print This Article

I'm sure that you've picked up the newspaper or turned on the evening news, only to ask yourself, "what on earth were they thinking?" or even "why weren't they thinking?" Folks, I endured such a moment this afternoon when I read the following article, "Salary 'gag orders' are workplace no-no's".

For starters, we're going to just pretend that the erroneously-used apostrophe doesn't exist in the last word of the title.

OK, pedantry aside, it turns out that a number of companies in Colorado decided that one way to keep down the hysteria (or conversations at the water cooler) surrounding the current economic conditions is to go ahead and put some silly new law into place to show the workers who exactly is boss. What's comical is when such activities contradict current labor laws, making them unenforceable.

What are these silly new bans? In this case, we're talking about companies preventing employees from discussing their salaries in the workplace.

Want me to say that again? Are they worried that the office cleaners might finally figure out that the VP of Marketing is making ten times more than they are? Is the fresh-out-of-college kid going to go ballistic when he finds out that his colleague, who has 10 years senior his experience, is making $20,000 more than he is?

Not only is this ridiculous, but it also is illegal in Colorado, where any sort of discipline with regards to discussion or comparisons of benefits or wages is illegal. While I can appreciate Colorado companies wanting to take control of a bad situation and try to make morale better, let's not forget that the road to hell is paved with good intentions - this law just doesn't seem like one of those cases.