General Question

wtfacct1132's avatar

Can I request HR to keep my salary private?

Asked by wtfacct1132 (10points) March 6th, 2012

I recently had a background check done for a prospective new employer. I requested a copy of the background check and was surprised to see that my current job disclosed my salary (the report stated HR provided it). I really do not agree with this as I think this is private information. I do not want to sue or anything however I would like for them to not disclose it in the future.

Would a company usually respect a request such as this? I do not see a benefit for them to disclose my salary anyway. Do they have a legal obligation to not disclose my salary if I specifically state so in writing?

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10 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

I had this same problem with a part-time job I worked at Home Depot. Somehow, the other employees discovered that I was making a lot more money than them and they threatened to walk out. This was in the 80s.

I was called into their office and given an ultimatom,,,,,,,either take a reduce salary or quit. I told them that this problem is between management and the other employees and not me.

They would not take no for an answer, so I walked out the door.

Apparently, your salary is not a secret. At least, mine was not in the 80s.

SpatzieLover's avatar

You can check with the Labor laws of your state @wtfacct1132. In general, HR is supposed to only confirm employment and the dates of said employment.

In my state, they do not voluntarily give out any more info than employment record. Anything beyond that and they will need a letter from the employee and the future employer.

wtfacct1132's avatar

@john65pennington Sadly people do talk and that information spread within your place of work. Did you tell anyone at any point in time? I am specifically referring to my job providing external HR departments and background checkers with that information. I just do not see a need for them to provide that information, considering they have nothing to gain or lose, it’s just unethical and unnecessary IMO.

Kudos for quitting.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@wtfacct1132 I would write them a letter stating that you are looking for employment and that you would like them to only confirm your employment with their company.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t know if it is legal to disclose salary. I’d check with an employment lawyer. I think you could win a suit about it, although I don’t know what kind of damages you would win.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
srmorgan's avatar

If the company where you filed an application has its act together, you probably signed a release on the application form which allows them to do a number of things including checking references; checking your date(s) of employment, requesting your current salary or final salary from a previous employer, obtaining a copy of your credit score or even a credit report.

You also gave them permission to do a criminal background check on you, although in some states this is either prohibited or considered possibly discriminatory.

You consented to a drug screening and perhaps a physical examination if physical performance is a critical part of your job description. You do not have to undergo a drug screen if you don’t want to but your job offer is probably contingent on successfully passing a drug screen.

wtfacct1132's avatar


Yes, I did sign a release but that doesn’t mean my current or past employers have the obligation to disclose this information.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

@wtfacct1132 You have to get with the program here. If you don’t want information disclosed do not sign a release to allow disclosure. I hope you have learned something here.

citizenearth's avatar

Of course. Your salary is your private information and under no circumstances the HR should disclose this information to other people, however persistent they may request it.

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