Following earlier “ban-the-box” legislation prohibiting employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal history, states and cities have begun to pass new legislation restricting employers’ rights to inquire about salary histories.
“Some laws limit an employer’s ability to rely on an applicant’s past salary information when making an offer of employment. Other laws completely prohibit employer inquiries of applicant salary history,” writes Goldberg Segalla partner Caroline J. Berdzik, Co-Chair of the firm’s Employment and Labor Practice Group. Currently the states of Massachusetts and California, along with Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and New Orleans, limit or completely prohibit such inquiries. New York City is the latest to approve similar legislation; bills are pending in Texas and Maryland.
Such laws have encountered resistance: One bill died in the Virginia legislature, and a New Jersey bill failed to pass the governor’s veto; elsewhere, existing laws face legal challenges.
“Employers would be well advised to check if there are any laws or pending legislation that may impact their ability to ask questions about salary history on applications or during the hiring process,” Caroline writes. Employers should also “have their hiring processes reviewed by an employment attorney to ensure compliance with the law and avoid potential litigation.”