Can I use ‘confidential’ information to negotiate a pay rise?

I know other members of staff are paid more than me for doing similar jobs, yet I’ve been denied a pay rise

Each Friday and Monday we publish the problems that will feature in a forthcoming Dear Jeremy advice column in the Guardian Money supplement, so readers can offer their own advice and suggestions. We then print the best of your comments alongside Jeremy’s own insights. Here is the latest dilemma – what are your thoughts?

I have been working for my organisation since January 2006. While I have excellent benefits, work in a beautiful place and enjoy my job, I hate working for the company. We are constantly made to feel as if we are doing a bad job despite the lack of complaints from the people who use our service. I have only ever received “above excellent” appraisal reviews.

Last year the deputy of our department retired and I have been made to take over most of her duties, including co-managing the department. I have not had a salary increase or been recognised in any other way.

I recently learned some colleagues in another department have had their salaries reviewed by an outside agency. Most received a pay rise, as it was shown that their salaries were not in line with industry norms. It’s not clear if employees in the rest of the organisation will have their salaries reviewed. I cannot discuss this with anyone as I was told the information in semi-privacy.

I have asked HR to review my salary and have been told I need to discuss this with my line manager, and to put a case forward. My line manager has told me she has already discussed it with her boss and was told a rise was not possible. I know for a fact that at least two of my male colleagues are paid significantly more for doing equivalent work.

I would like to make a case for a rise despite knowing it is unlikely. I would like to include the semi-secret information I have received, as well as the information about my male colleagues’ salaries. As it is unclear whether I am “allowed” to know all of this, what is the best way to approach this sensitive issue?

• For Jeremy’s and readers’ advice on a work issue, send a brief email to Please note that he is unable to answer questions of a legal nature or reply personally. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Enjoyed this post? Share it!


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.