Guide to Salary History Legislation

Hiring effectively not only requires sourcing and selecting quality candidates, but it also requires compliance with ever-changing salary history laws.

More and more states are instituting salary history bans, which prohibit employers from asking candidates about salary history during the application and interview process. Salary history legislation also prohibits employers from asking a candidate’s current or former employers about candidate earnings, or using salary history information to determine how much to offer a candidate.

Though Congress has proposed a national law, there is currently no national salary history legislation, leaving each state and local government to set its own laws. So far, 19 states and 21 localities have done so. As a result, you’ll need to understand the laws in each state where you hire and examine existing hiring practices for compliance.

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Ebook Cover Legislative History

Chapter 1

The Benefits of Complying with Salary History Bans

Changing salary history laws impact your organization’s ability to attract and hire candidates efficiently and legally. Staying current with salary history bans in areas where you do business helps you achieve the following benefits:

Avoid regulatory penalties and lawsuits

When you understand the salary history laws affecting your hiring process, you’re in a better position to avoid the penalties of non-compliance. Violating salary history bans can lead to penalties brought by a state or city’s Department of Labor, with charges often mounting for each subsequent violation. For example, New Jersey imposes fees of $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 for the first, second, and each subsequent violation. In New York City, not knowing about the salary history law is no defense. Employers can face a civil penalty of up to $125,000 for an unintentional violation and up to $250,000 for a willful or malicious violation.

 

Deliver a better candidate experience

Given the growth of salary bans across the country, more and more candidates expect not to be asked about their salary history. When you comply with applicable salary history laws, you avoid putting candidates in the uncomfortable position of being asked prohibited questions, and you ultimately create a better candidate experience. According to an IBM study, people who are satisfied with their candidate experiences are 38 percent more likely to accept a job offer. Since candidate experience can have such a deep and lasting impact, it’s better to follow a compliant hiring process that doesn’t turn candidates off.

 

Support equitable pay practices

The goal of salary history legislation is to improve pay equity in the workplace. Studies show that women earn between 78-91 percent of what men earn, with some minorities earning even less. More equitable hiring practices can shrink the gap. When you focus on candidate skills and ability, and not current or past salary, you create the opportunity for more equitable pay offers.

 

Improve Hiring Compliance with the Help of a Trusted Partner

The day-to-day responsibilities of talent acquisition will run a lot smoother when you have a clear picture of the compliance landscape affecting how you hire. As your background screening partner, Corporate Screening can work with you to maintain compliance with salary history bans and other laws. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you improve your hiring process compliance.

In the meantime, use this list and map of state and local salary history laws to help guide your hiring activities in any location.

Statewide and Local Salary History Laws

Click on your state to see salary history laws

Alabama

State-wide

Year Effective: Sept. 1, 2019

Covered Employers: All employers

Employers may not refuse any candidate an opportunity for interview, promotion, or employment based on the candidate’s refusal to provide pay history.

View the state law

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Alaska

No State-wide Ban

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Arizona

No State-wide Ban

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Arkansas

No State-wide Ban

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California

State-wide

Year Effective: Jan. 1, 2018

Covered Employers: All employers, including state and local government

Employers may not seek candidate pay history. Employers may not use candidate pay history to determine pay, even if they already have this information or a candidate has volunteered it. Employers are required to provide pay scale information if candidates request it.

View the state law

 

San Francisco
Effective Date: July 1, 2018
Covered Employers: All employers, including contractors and subcontractors operating in the city

Employers may not ask for or use a candidate’s current or prior compensation to determine pay. Employers are also banned from disclosing a current or former employee’s salary information without consent.

View the city law

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Colorado

State-wide

Year Effective: Jan. 1, 2021

Covered Employers: All employers

Employers may not ask for or use a candidate’s current or prior compensation to determine pay. Employers also may not retaliate against prospective employees who do not disclose their pay history.

View the state law

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Connecticut

State-wide

Year Effective: Jan. 1, 2019

Covered Employers: All employers

Employers may not ask about a candidate’s pay history unless the candidate voluntarily discloses it.

View the state law

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Delaware

State-wide

Year Effective: Dec. 14, 2017

Covered Employers: All employers and their agents

Employers may not screen candidates based on past salary or ask about salary history. Employers may verify a candidate’s salary after a job offer has been extended and accepted.

View the state law

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District of Columbia

District-wide

Year Effective: Nov. 17, 2017

Covered Employers: D.C. government agencies

District government agencies may not ask a candidate for salary history unless it is brought up by the candidate after an offer of employment is extended.

View the directive law

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Florida

No State-wide Ban

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Georgia

City—Atlanta only (currently has no statewide law)

Year Effective: Feb. 18, 2019

Covered Employers: City agencies

The city of Atlanta will not ask for salary history on employment applications, in verbal interviews, or other employment screenings.

View the city press release

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Hawaii

State-wide

Year Effective: Jan. 1, 2019

Covered Employers: All employers and their agents

Employers may not ask about candidate salary histories, unless it is an internal candidate. Employers also may not rely on salary history information unless it is volunteered by the candidate.

View the state law

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Idaho

No State-wide Ban

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Illinois

State-wide

Year Effective: January 15, 2019, amended September 29, 2019

Covered Employers: All employers and state agencies

State agencies may not ask prospective employees questions about salary history.

All other employers are prohibited from seeking pay history, including benefits. Employers may discuss candidate pay expectations.

View the state law

 

City—Chicago
Effective Date: April 10, 2018
Covered Employers: City departments
City departments may not ask candidates for salary histories.

View the city executive order

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Indiana

No State-wide Ban

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Iowa

No State-wide Ban

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Kansas

No State-wide Ban

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Kentucky

City—Louisville only (currently has no statewide law)

Year Effective: May 17, 2018

Covered Employers: County metro government offices and their agents

City agencies may not ask for candidate salary histories, consider previous salary during the hiring process, or retaliate against applicants who refuse to share salary history information.

View the city law

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Louisiana

City—New Orleans only (currently has no statewide law)

Year Effective: January 25, 2017, amended October 1, 2019

Covered Employers: City departments

City departments may not ask for candidate salary histories or use pay history to determine wages or whether to make an offer of employment. Candidates may provide pay history to negotiate a higher salary after an offer is made.

View the city executive order and the amendment 

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Maine

State-wide

Year Effective: Sept. 17, 2019

Covered Employers: All employers

Employers may not seek information about candidate pay history until after a job offer has been made.

View the state law

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Maryland

State-wide

Year Effective: Oct. 1, 2020

Covered Employers: All employers

Employers may not seek candidate pay history, but they may confirm pay history provided by a candidate voluntarily after making an initial offer of employment. Employers must provide candidates with the wage range of the position for which they have applied, if requested.

View the state law

 

County—Montgomery County
Effective Date: Aug. 14, 2019
Covered Employers: County government

The county may neither seek nor rely on candidate salary history as a factor in determining whether to hire or how to set pay. The county may not retaliate or refuse to hire candidates based on their refusal to disclose salary history. When candidates voluntarily disclose salary history, the county may rely on that information to offer a higher wage than initially offered, as long as it does not result in unequal pay for equal work.

View the county law

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Massachusetts

State-wide

Year Effective: July 1, 2018

Covered Employers: All employers, including state and municipal employers.

Employers may not request candidate salary history information. Employers may confirm salary history if volunteered by the candidate or if an offer has been extended.

View the state law

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Michigan

State-wide

Year Effective: June 24, 2018

Covered Employers: Private employers

Michigan has prohibited salary history bans. Local governments may not regulate what information employers request or require during the interview or employment process.

View the state law

Amendment Effective Date: Jan. 8, 2019
Covered Employers: State departments 

State offices may not ask candidates about salary history until a conditional employment offer is made. They also may not ask current or prior employers or search public records to get salary history. If a candidate’s salary is already known, it can’t be used to make a hiring decision.

View the executive directive

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Minnesota

No State-wide Ban

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Mississippi

City—Jackson (currently has no statewide ban)

Year Effective: June 13, 2019

Covered Employers: City government

City offices may not ask candidates for salary history.

View an article about the law

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Missouri

City—Kansas City (currently has no state-wide ban)

Year Effective: October 31, 2019

Covered Employers: All employers with six or more employees

Employers may not ask or rely on candidate compensation history in determining employment offers. Employers may ask candidates about their pay expectations. The law does not apply to voluntary and unprompted disclosures of salary history information by candidates.

View the city law

 

City—St. Louis
Effective Date: March 11, 2020
Covered Employers: The city

City offices may not ask about candidate salary history. They may not retaliate or refuse to hire candidates who do not disclose salary history. The law does not apply to internal candidates or those previously employed by the city.

View the city law

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Montana

No State-wide Ban

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Nebraska

No State-wide Ban

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Nevada

No State-wide Ban

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New Hampshire

No State-wide Ban

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New Jersey

State-wide

Year Effective: Jan. 1, 2020

Covered Employers: All employers

Employers may not screen candidates based on their pay history or require a candidate’s previous compensation to meet any minimum or maximum criteria. An employer may verify voluntarily disclosed candidate pay history and may also consider it in determining candidate pay. After making an offer, an employer may request a written authorization from a candidate to confirm pay history.

View the state law

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New Mexico

No State-wide Ban

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New York

State-wide

Year Effective: January 6, 2020

Covered Employers: All employers

Employers may not seek candidate compensation history. Employers may only confirm compensation history if, after making an offer, a candidate or current employee provides pay history to support a salary higher than the one offered by the employer.

View the state law

 

City—New York City
Effective Date: Oct. 31, 2017
Employers Affected: All employers and their agents

Employers may not ask about candidate pay or benefits history. Employers already in possession of that information may not use it to set pay.

View the city law

 

County—Albany County
Effective Date: Dec. 17, 2017
Employers Affected:All employers and employment agencies

Employers may not request candidate salary or benefits history until after a job offer is made.

View the county law

 

County—Suffolk County
Effective Date: June 30, 2019
Employers Affected: All employers and their agents

Employers may not request candidate salary history. They also may not search public records or use known salary information to set pay.

View the county law

 

County—Westchester County
Effective Date: July 9, 2018
Employers Affected: All employers and their agents

Employers may not request candidate salary history. Only under limited circumstances may employers confirm prior pay and rely on this information to set pay.

View the county law

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North Carolina

State-wide

Year Effective: April 2, 2019

Covered Employers: State agencies

State agencies may not request candidate salary history and may not rely upon previously obtained salary information to set pay.

View the state executive order

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North Dakota

No State-wide Ban

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Ohio

City—Cincinnati (currently has no state-wide ban)

Year Effective: March 12, 2020

Covered Employers: The city of Cincinnati and all other employers with 15 or more employees located within the city, including employment agencies

Employers may not ask candidates for salary histories and may not rely on known salary histories. Employers also must provide a pay scale for a position to candidates who have been given an offer of employment and ask for this information.

View the city ordinance

 

City—Toledo
Effective Date: June 25, 2020
Covered Employers: The city of Toledo and all other employers with 15 or more employees, including employment agencies

Employers may not ask for candidate pay history or require a candidate’s compensation to satisfy minimum or maximum criteria. Employers may discuss candidate pay expectations, and job candidates may request a pay scale for the position after being offered employment.

View the city law

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Oklahoma

No State-wide Ban

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Oregon

State-wide

Year Effective: Oct. 6, 2017

Covered Employers: All employers

Employers may not ask about candidate salary history until after an offer of employment is made. Employers also may not use prior compensation to set pay, except for current employees moving to a new position with the same employer.

View the state law

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Pennsylvania

State-wide

Year Effective: Sept. 4, 2018

Covered Employers: State agencies

State agencies may not ask about candidate current or previous compensation history during the hiring process. All job postings must list a position's pay scale and pay range.

View the state executive order

 

City—Philadelphia
Effective Date: February 6, 2020
Covered Employers: All employers

Employers may not ask about candidate wage history or make employment or consideration for an interview conditional upon a candidate complying with wage history inquiries. Employers may not retaliate against a candidate for failing to provide wage history. Employers may not rely on a candidate’s wage history to set wages unless the candidate “knowingly and willingly” discloses the wage history to the employer.

View the city ordinance

 

City—Pittsburgh
Effective Date: Jan. 30, 2017
Covered Employers: City offices and agencies

City agencies and offices may not ask about a candidate’s prior pay. If they discover it, employers are prohibited from relying on that information unless the applicant has supplied it voluntarily.

View the city law

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Rhode Island

No State-wide Ban

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South Carolina

City—Columbia (currently has no state-wide ban)

Year Effective: August 6, 2019

Covered Employers: City agencies and any employer with five or more employees

City agencies may not seek candidate pay history or rely on pay history to determine wages, unless a candidate voluntarily discloses it.

View the city ordinance

 

County—Richland County
Effective Date: May 23, 2019
Covered Employers: County offices

County offices will remove the salary history question from employment applications, verbal interviews, and employment screenings.

View the county law

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South Dakota

No State-wide Ban

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Tennessee

No State-wide Ban

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Texas

No State-wide Ban

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Utah

City—Salt Lake City (currently has no statewide ban)

Year Effective: March 1, 2018

Covered Employers: City offices

City offices may not ask for candidate salary history. If candidates voluntarily provide the information, it still can’t be used to determine salary.

View the city law

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Vermont

State-wide

Year Effective: July 2, 2018

Covered Employers: All employers

Employers may not request candidate salary history. If candidates voluntarily provide pay history, employers may only confirm it after making a job offer.

View the state law

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Virginia

State-wide

Year Effective: July 1, 2019

Covered Employers: State agencies

State agency job applications will eliminate the salary history field.

View the statement from the Governor

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Washington

State-wide

Year Effective: July 28, 2019

Covered Employers: All employers

Employers may not seek candidate pay history, but they may confirm it if voluntarily disclosed by the candidate. Employers with 15 or more employees must provide the minimum salary for a position if requested by a candidate who has received an offer for the position.

View the state law

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West Virginia

No State-wide Ban

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Wisconsin

State-wide

Year Effective: April 18, 2018

Covered Employers: All employers

Local governments may not prohibit employers from asking for candidate salary histories.

View the state law

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Wyoming

No State-wide Ban

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