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If I were a New Mexico state employee, crunched somewhere in the middle of the hierarchy (which I used to be), and I learned that my colleagues’ salaries were posted online, I would be tempted to take a peek.
I might scan for anyone whose salary was higher than mine but who, in my opinion, didn’t deserve it. If I found any, I might become just a bit resentful.
Would my work suffer? A little, possibly. Would I use this information to justify small acts of defiance, like sneaking a novel into the restroom now and then? Maybe.
Would I be distressed that my own salary had been put on public display? Absolutely. Wouldn’t you?
New Mexico state employees’ salaries were posted online, with names, on the state’s “Sunshine Portal,” until the names were removed following a court order, prompted by a lawsuit filed by the employee union AFSCME.
The court order, it is important to note, referred specifically to the Sunshine Portal. The database was left in place, with names deleted for classified employees.
I breathed a sigh of relief. I was concerned not only about employee morale and potential internal dissension, but about the kind of mischief that could be done to all those employees by nefarious use of the data — cheesy targeted marketing programs or worse.
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