Are you confused about the myriad of rules and regulations related to salary history bans? 🤔 Don't worry, you aren't alone! Lucky for you, we've scoured the interwebs to put together a handy guide to help you navigate what you can (and can't) talk about when it comes to an applicant's previous pay.
Want a quick hit with the relevant goods (helloooooo TL;DR!)? 💡You got it!
In general, most laws prohibit employers from:
seeking, requesting, or asking about salary history;
reaching out to current or past employers;
considering, using, or relying on salary history as a factor in determining whether to offer employment or what salary to offer; and/or
retaliating against applicants who refuse to voluntarily disclose salary history information.
Want to go deeper and drop some knowledge on your colleagues? 🤓 Read on...
A growing number of state and local governments have, or are, enacting laws limiting what employers can ask about - or even consider - related to an applicants’ salary history. Because past pay discrimination was perpetuated (either consciously or subconsciously) when employers made decisions based on prior salary, the laws are meant to reduce pay inequity - especially for women and minorities.
Most state and local salary history bans share the same basic features, but no two laws are the same. If your company operates in multiple places across the country, or even within different parts of a state, it’s important to be cognizant of all the variations.
It’s important to note that while states have led the charge in passing laws, the federal government has not enacted a nationwide salary history ban. There are some considerations under the Equal Pay Act of 1963, but more finite considerations will exist at the state and/or local level.
In just a few years, what started off as a few isolated laws aimed at creatively combating pay inequity has now become a nationwide trend. Not to mention that the legal landscape is constantly changing. Checking in frequently with your friends in HR is always a good idea. (Here are some food for thought questions to get the discussion going: Has your company revisited their employment application materials to ensure they are not directly or indirectly soliciting information they should not be? Have you ensured that anyone involved in screening, interviewing, or otherwise assessing applicants is aware of, and complying with, relevant laws?)
Click on a link below to review the states (and corresponding counties / cities) that have enacted rules governing the use of salary history.
*Speaking of legal stuff...We have awesome folks at Compa, but none of us specializes, or is an expert, in employment law. We collected and collated data based on publicly available information, and while we hope it's helpful, recommend using at your own discretion.
Salary History Ban Info by State*
*Not all states have legislation in place. Content will be reviewed and revised periodically to capture any additions and/or updates.
**Legislation may differ across the state and/or some cities / counties have additional rules.
The following sites provide additional resources and information.
Salary history bans by state (AccuSource)
Does your state prohibit asking salary history? (JD Supra, Sept. 9, 2021)
Salary history ban: Everything employers need to know (Fit small business, July 20, 2021)
Why salary history bans matter to securing equal pay (Center for American Progress, March 24, 2021)
Salary history bans — Know the limitations (Small Business Association of Michigan, March 6, 2021)
What states and cities have salary history bans? (Smith Hanley, March 4, 2021)