Salary History Bans Are Catching On

The issue of pay has traditionally been an inevitable topic of discussion in any job interview. However, in a growing number of places throughout the country, an employer can no longer ask an applicant about his or her salary history. The locations listed on the chart below have enacted laws impacting private employers. More bans are expected at both the state and local level.

While the provisions of each law vary, they make it illegal for employers to ask applicants about their current compensation or how they were paid at past jobs. The rationale for these laws stems from the equal pay issue and the premise that pay for the job should be based on the value of the job to the organization, not the pay an applicant might be willing to accept. These laws are designed to reverse the pattern of wage inequality that resulted from past gender bias or discrimination.

For employers, this means:

  • Establishing compensation ranges for open positions and asking applicants if the salary range for the position would meet their compensation expectations;
  • Updating employment applications to remove the salary history information; and
  • Training hiring managers and interviewers to avoid asking questions about salary history.

Again, these laws apply to private employers only.

Jurisdiction Effective Date Applies To
California January 1, 2018 All California employers
San Francisco, California July 1, 2018 All San Francisco employers, including city contractors and subcontractors
Delaware December 14, 2017 All Delaware employers with four or more employees
Massachusetts July 1, 2018 All Massachusetts employers
Albany County, New York December 17, 2017 All Albany County employers with four or more employees
New York City, New York October 31, 2017 All New York City employers
Westchester County, New York On or around July 9, 2018 All private employers in Westchester County
 Oregon October 6, 2017; enforcement begins January 1, 2019 All Oregon employers with one or more employees
 Washington State June 8, 2018 All Washington State employers with one or more employees

Get it All

ThinkHR customers can get a more detailed and regularly updated version of this chart on Comply. For a running list of salary history bans (and bans on bans) that includes public employers, see HR Dive.