HR Worker With A 'History' Of Sharing Confidential Employee Information Discusses Her Boss's Salary In An Effort To Get A Pay Raise

An employee that can't keep confidence is a risk to the company and to the employees they serve.

woman taking a picture of private file Nicoleta Ionescu / Volha Barysevich / Shutterstock 

People who work in Human Resources (HR) have to be level-headed and able to keep information about the company they work for, as well as the employees, confidential. When an employee who has been entrusted with private information shares it, they might be terminated on the spot, but one HR Director is determined to “salvage” her worker.

An HR Director explained what happened when an employee didn't keep her mouth closed about confidential information.

As she mentioned in her post on the r/humanresources subreddit, she started as the Director of Human Resources at an organization just 30 days prior but had been in the field for over 20 years. A young woman who was new to HR and had only been in the workforce for three years began reporting to her immediately.


Photo: Reddit

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Before she stepped into the new role, the HR Assistant had been forced to take on all aspects of Human Resources due to turnover that left her the only person in the department. In order to do the work required of her, she needed unlimited access to the HRIS, payroll data, and any other sensitive employee related info.


After starting the Director job, the poster heard back from another position she’d interviewed for, offering substantially more money. She took the offer to her new employer, fully expecting that she would have to leave for the higher paying position. Instead, they gave her a “nice” counter-offer, which she accepted and stayed at the company.

Once the salary adjustment was approved, it went to the HR Assistant for entry into the HRIS and payroll systems. When the assistant saw the pay increase her manager had received, she approached her and pointed out that she had “made a pretty good negotiation” for herself.

But the assistant wasn’t just trying to be congratulatory. She wanted to know how she, too, could get a pay increase since 'money is apparently on the table.'

The new director had discussed equal pay throughout her career but had never been prompted to discuss her own compensation with employees. The incident made her uncomfortable, but she decided to share a few details and “came up with a plan to get her an increase in the future,” believing she had provided an acceptable resolution.

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To her surprise, her employee shared the situation with a coworker, who told the Redditor’s manager about it, raising the need for a conversation on confidentiality.

During that discussion, the woman’s manager let her know that the HR Assistant was “notorious for not holding confidentiality,” and for taking things like constructive criticism personally. He then shared that if the young woman turned out to be a "bad fit" for the role, he’d have no problem firing her.

But the helpful woman wasn’t sure she wanted to let her employee go and posed a few questions.

She said, “I would like to attempt to salvage her, but am not sure how to approach it. My manager’s comments make me think that the direct approach will cause tears or conflict, but this is just really bothering me. I cannot have a leak like this in a multi-million-dollar HR department. How would you approach this? Is it salvageable, or should I chalk it up to professional immaturity and make a contingency plan to replace her?”


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She explained that she is very reliant on the assistant, especially while she is still learning the job. She alluded to the fact that before she arrived, the assistant was the most senior (and only) HR person at the company and suggested that the turnover may be a red flag for the employer.

Commenters did not hold back when stating their opinions. “Some things are non-negotiable. Confidentiality within HR is one of them. Final warning, start looking for a replacement and deal with the consequences. You have to set the tone/bar/standards for how you want your department to run and by extension, the company,” one person said.

That opinion was reiterated over and over by readers, and they are absolutely correct.


A Human Resources employee that can’t keep confidence is a risk to the company and to the employees they serve. Sharing private HR information could result in costly lawsuits and fines, and damage the reputation of the business. It’s time to cut the losses and build a new team, it seems.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer and author from Seattle, Washington. She covers issues navigating the workplace using the experience garnered over two decades of working in Human Resources and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.