Dear Amy: I’ve become good friends with a co-worker who started at the same job I did over 12 years ago.
I’ve received raises, including two after I changed departments six years ago.
In a recent conversation with my co-worker, they disclosed that they have not had one raise in all their time with the company.
When I was given my raises, I was always told it was confidential, and I’ve kept it quiet. My friend has asked several times and has been told that no raises are being given.
They have a good track record with the company and have done well in meeting their goals.
Should I say something to the co-worker about my pay increases?
Would it be better to hint at it and not break the agreed-to confidentiality?
My friend is thinking of looking for a new job.
— Feeling Guilty
Dear Feeling Guilty: This is from NLRB.gov: “Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or the Act), employees have the right to communicate with other employees at their workplace about their wages. Wages are a vital term and condition of employment, and discussions of wages are often preliminary to organizing or other actions for mutual aid or protection.”
Further, they write: “When you and another employee have a conversation or communication about your pay, it is unlawful for your employer to punish or retaliate against you in any way for having that conversation.”
Employers tell employees to keep their salaries confidential because it is in the employer’s best interests for their employees to be kept in the dark about co-workers’ compensation and raises.
Review your company’s official policies and any employment agreement you may have signed. Unless you agreed in writing to keep your own salary confidential, then you should be free to exercise your right to disclose it.
If you want to hedge, you could say, “I know for a fact that raises have been given.”
And yes — your friend should get another job.
Dear Amy: The letter from “Mourning” about the emotions surrounding keeping pets alive when they are suffering really got me.
My friend has the same problem with her old and blind spaniel.
I had to make the decision with my own 17-year-old pet, but took the vet’s advice that quality of life was gone and had to think of the animal, not me.
My friend knows what she should do, but she can’t. Is there anything you can say to ease the choice?
Dear Sad: Some vets offer “hospice” or end-of-life palliative care for animals. You might do some research and see if there is a vet in your area who will come to your friend’s house and examine her pup.
This is from ASPCA.org: “Pet hospice is not a place, but a personal choice and philosophy based on the principle that death is a part of life and can be dignified. When considering hospice care, pet parents should be very careful not to prolong the suffering of pets who are in pain or experiencing poor quality of life.”
I went through this with my 20-year-old tabby cat, and the palliative care veterinarian who examined him outlined my options.
I chose to have him euthanized, and buddy died at home with me petting him and thanking him for gracing my life.
And yes — it was so hard!
As with any life-event that is absolutely guaranteed to also be heartbreaking — this is easier to face with a friend’s support.
You can ask if she would like you to go with her — or be with her — when she is ready to go through this process.
Dear Amy: “Sad Mad Daughter,” who was now caring for her abusive and elderly mother could be me.
The thing that is hardest to take is looking at your vulnerable, lonely, isolated, helpless elderly parent and realizing they were looking at a vulnerable, lonely, isolated, helpless child and could actually emotionally and physically abuse that child!
I know my mother didn’t ask for her mental disorder. She is in a nursing home near me; I visit a few times a week and make sure she has everything she needs.
She has taken so much from me, gosh darn it, she will not dictate the kind of attentive daughter I want to be, and get to be, to an elderly parent.
I — not her — get to control how I want to be, and it’s a great feeling.
— Kathy, in Virginia
Dear Kathy: This is next-level wisdom, earned the hardest way possible. I think your perspective could help a lot of people.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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