States are Enacting Salary History Bans

As part of a nationwide effort to reduce pay inequity for women and minorities, three dozen U.S. state and local governments are enacting laws that limit employers’ ability to ask about or consider job applicants’ salary history. In California, employers are prohibited from seeking, directly or indirectly, salary history information or in using voluntarily disclosed information when determining whether to offer employment. However, employers can consider and rely on voluntarily disclosed information in setting the applicant’s salary. Most laws forbid employers (or third parties directed by employers) from seeking, requesting, or asking applicants about their wage and salary history, and many also prohibit employers from reaching out to current or past employers. Some states specifically prohibit employers from “screening” applicants based on their compensation histories, most prohibit retaliation against applicants who refuse to voluntarily disclose salary history information, and several jurisdictions provide exceptions for discussions about salary or compensation “expectations.”

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