Increasingly, high-profile companies in the tech industry are feeling the pressure to publicly share employee pay information and address any existing “pay gaps.”  This has led to a number of recent press releases from Silicon Valley employers proclaiming “equal pay” within their organizations.

Most recently, in connection with Equal Pay Day, Facebook, Inc. and Microsoft Corp both publicly announced they pay male and female employees equally.  Microsoft went so far as to disclose its female employees earned 99.8 cents for every 1.00 dollar earned by men in the company and also shared data on pay equality for minority employees.

While other companies likely have, or soon will, feel the pressure for pay transparency, there are important considerations to take into account before doing so.  Some things to keep in mind include:

  • What type of analyses will the company rely on to substantiate such a pronouncement?
  • How will the analyses be conducted to protect them under privilege?
  • How will this information be utilized by the company, existing and former employees and other third-parties?

Importantly, if employers are going to make public statements about paying their employees “equally,” they first should conduct pay equity analyses to substantiate these claims and ensure the analyses are protected under privilege.  [Note: By “pay equity analyses,” we mean comparing employees to one another, not to market.  Many organizations conduct market analyses, but do not actually review pay equity for their employees within their organizations.]  However, with this increasing pressure on employers to make “equal pay” statements, many requests to analyze pay data come directly from the C-suite, so ensure you are aware of when this occurs and your organization is running these analyses properly and they are protected under privilege.