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What should I do if a senior colleague asks about my salary, especially since I know mine is higher than his?


Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

Does not matter if yours is below or above, I would just state you do not feel it is appropriate to discuss salary.

Tunde Akinfenwa
Title: Assistant Manager, Subsistence & Travels
Company: Airtel Networks Ltd
(Assistant Manager, Subsistence & Travels, Airtel Networks Ltd) |

You're not under any obligations to discuss salary with your colleagues except with your line manager or HRC.

Keith Johnson
Title: Principal
Company: Keith E. Johnson CPA PA
(Principal, Keith E. Johnson CPA PA) |

The answer to that question starts and stops with the previous two answers. To think someone who doesn't need to know asks is rude enough. I just thought good manners and etiquette would have nipped this in the 50 years ago, thats all, so it shouldn't even be asked anymore. Repeat, not a putdown, just shocked there are still people who ask.about others salaries to bring this up.

Topic Expert
Linda Wright
Title: Consultant
Company: Wright Consulting
(Consultant, Wright Consulting) |

I agree with all of the above. However, the asking does make for an awkward moment and may strain the relationship longer term.

(Senior Application Analyst) |

I agree. Someone with whom I work, who had been out of the workforce for several years, hinted and then then asked outright. I said that I don't discuss my salary with anyone and that it only leads to trouble.

Ken Stumder
Title: Finance Director / Controller
Company: Ken Stumder, CPA
(Finance Director / Controller, Ken Stumder, CPA) |

Bad form; politely point this individual in another direction.

Topic Expert
Stephen Roulac
Title: CEO
Company: Roulac Global LLC
(CEO, Roulac Global LLC) |

Extending the several very good answers already posted, this very question raises a couple of issues:

- Does your company have a policy re compensation confidentiality? If so, this then triggers what you do about a breach of company policy. If not, then why not? As a senior exec in the company, you can/should take initiative to establish such a policy. In some companies, the very asking of such a question is grounds for sanction if not termination.
- Why is he asking? The reason may be illuminating in various ways, beyond curiosity per se.
- Answer to above question may have implications for your role, recognition, and future in the company.

Remember, nothing happens independent of context or motives. How do those apply to you?

Tricia Havis
Title: General Manager
Company: Associated Background Check Inc.
LinkedIn Profile
(General Manager, Associated Background Check Inc.) |

This article is from the Texas Workforce Committee and basically states that employers may be violating federal law (NLRA) if they prohibit employees from discussing their salary and benefits:
Just wanted to pass that along. If someone asks me about my salary, I just tell them I never discuss pay, that I was always taught that some things should be kept confidential no matter what. It can hurt someone's feelings if you are friends as well as colleagues, but having them find out you make significantly more than they do (or reverse, that YOU make significantly less than they do) can really harm a friendship and working relationship either way.

Topic Expert
Stephen Roulac
Title: CEO
Company: Roulac Global LLC
(CEO, Roulac Global LLC) |

This NLRA policy is prime example of consideration that not all laws are right, appropriate, beneficial. Certainly, in some realms this is public info. In the private sector, however, unless the company has adopted policy of compensation transparency, as some have, conversations about compensation may be inimical to stakeholders' interests.

Damon Butler
Title: CFO
Company: The Protective Group, Inc.
(CFO, The Protective Group, Inc.) |

Discussing salary is never going to lead to a good outcome. One, if not both parties will be frustrated. Simply decline on the grounds that you feel this is personal information,

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Why not just decline and state that, if people have employment contracts, that you aren't at liberty to discuss because of said contract.


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