88% of subprime mortgages in New Mexico show “low or no documentation,” according to the latest figures compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
9.2% of subprime mortgage holders in New Mexico missed at least one payment in the last year.
"Smart people listen but don’t talk about their own salary."
—Lee Miller, from her book A Woman’s Guide to Successful Negotiating
In offices around the country, employees vent about how their weekly checks barely cover the bills. Complaining is one thing; announcing your salary is another. And in many offices, it’s grounds for termination.
Or at least it used to be: President Obama signed on Jan. 29 the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, a giant step in the direction of pay equity between women and men. Among the provisions is a prohibition of retaliation against employees who publicly discuss their wages.
State Rep. Al Park, D-Bernalillo, introduced legislation this session to implement that final clause into New Mexico law. House Bill 494 (and its Senate twin SB 305) would also make it illegal for an employer to “discharge, suspend, demote, discipline or otherwise take an adverse employment action against an employee” for talking about his or her salary and benefits.
“To me, really the impetus was to make sure there is no pay discrepancy based on gender,” Park tells SFR. “If people talk about it, you don’t want them to get in trouble for it. What we find is that [discussing pay] is the pretextual basis for termination, but not the real reason.”
In its response to the bill, the New Mexico Corrections Department expressed concern that the bill would protect employees who are abusive in the workplace as long as they are abusive in the context of salary complaints.
The bill would allow New Mexicans to file complaints with the Department of Workforce Solutions’ Human Rights Bureau in tandem with federal complaints. However, with seven investigators and 40 cases a month already, the increased caseload may further slow down the Human Rights Bureau.
“Why are salaries treated as state secrets?” consultant and author Alexander Kjerulf writes on his “Chief Happiness Officer” blog. “The main reason may precisely be that they’re not currently fair and therefore making them open seems dangerous to many workplaces.”