A common question in many job applications or during interview process is salary history. Unfortunately, this can be used against job seekers to justify lower pay. The good news for job candidates is that many states have enacted or plan to enact salary history bans, meaning that employers can no longer ask for your salary history. This is particularly beneficial for women and minorities, who often face discrimination when it comes to pay equality.
What states have the salary history ban in place?
Visit https://www.hrdive.com/news/salary-history-ban-states-list/516662/ for a detailed list of states with the salary history ban, when it goes into effect, and employers affected.
- Alabama – all employers in the state
- California – all employers in the state
- Colorado – all employers in the state
- Connecticut – all employers in the state
- Delaware – all employers in the state with more than four employees
- Hawaii – all employers in the state
- Illinois – all employers in the state
- Maine – all employers in the state
- Massachusetts – all employers in the state
- Michigan – all state agencies, as established through executive order
- New Jersey – all employers in the state
- New York – all employers in the state
- North Carolina – all state agencies, as established through executive order
- Oregon – all employers in the state
- Puerto Rico – all employers in the territory
- Pennsylvania – all state agencies, as established through executive order
- Vermont – all employers in the state
- Virginia – all state agencies, as established through executive action
- Washington – all employers in the state
To see a full breakdown of state pay equity laws, visit our Policy Guide to Equal Pay in the States.
- San Francisco, California – all employers in the city
- Atlanta, Georgia – all city agencies
- Chicago, Illinois – all city agencies
- Louisville, Kentucky – all city agencies
- New Orleans, Louisiana – all city agencies
- Montgomery County, Maryland – all county agencies
- Jackson, Mississippi – all city agencies
- Kansas City, Missouri – all employers in the city with more than six employees
- St. Louis County, Missouri – all employers in the county
- Albany County, New York – all employers in the county
- New York, New York – all employers in the city
- Westchester County, New York – all employers in the county
- Cincinnati, Ohio – all employers in the city with more than 15 employees
- Toledo, Ohio – all employers in the city with more than 15 employees
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – all employers in the city
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – all city agencies
- Salt Lake City, Utah – all city agencies
Ban extends to Illinois
Employers in Illinois will be required to make changes to their hiring practices in the near future. Starting in December, it will become illegal for employers to ask prospective employees to share their salary history.
“Currently, 17 states and 19 localities have banned questions about salary history during the application process, and Illinois is going to join these ranks in just a couple of months. Several states like Alabama have banned these application questions for all potential employees, and other states like California go so far as to require employers to provide pay scale information if employees request it,” says Rob Wilson, employment trends expert and President of Employco USA.
Wilson says that many experts agree that salary history questions can lead to income inequality for women and minorities.
“The belief is that inquiring about salary history can create a vicious cycle in which women are paid less presently and in the future, simply because they were paid less in the past,” explains Wilson. “Concerned civil rights activists point to the fact that women are offered less when compared to similarly trained and educated males, even when these interviewees are coming right out of college.”
How to Respond to Salary History Questions
If you are in a state where the salary history ban is in effect, employers should not ask questions about your salary history. Instead of providing salary history, offer a range of compensation that aligns with your skills and experience. Salary.com and PayScale.com are great resources to learn how much you should be making in your field and location. You may want to remind them of the laws in your state. If they continue to press the issue, you can report them to your local federal Equal Employment Opportunity office and file a claim.