Are You Breaking the Law During Your Hiring Process?

Attention Employers: Are You Violating the Law in Your Interviews?

Asking this question is illegal in several states, counties, with more states joining the ban in 2019.

After looking over some potential job candidates, you decide to interview one or more persons. Chatting away, things are looking good, and you just have one more question on your form from HR;

What is your salary at your current position?”

BOOM! Just like that, you’ve broken the law and could be in big trouble.

Wait! How Can This Be Illegal?

We hear you. This question has been asked for who knows how long but, for better or worse, it’s a new trend that has a few states passing laws prohibiting it, as well as a few counties.

For those in HR or if you do interviews for your company, you should know if your state, county, or city is included in this ban. The current list is as follows:

  • California. Effective Jan 1, 2018, all private and public employers are not allowed to ask a candidate’s salary history. California also requires that applicants are given a list of pay scale information for the job they are applying for if they ask for it.

  • San Francisco, California. Effective July 1, 2018. The city of San Francisco put their own addition to California’s law which includes city contractors and subcontractors. This law also forbids employers from discussing a former or current employee’s salary without that person’s written consent.

  • Connecticut. Effective Jan. 1, 2019. Employers are forbidden from asking about a candidate’s pay history, although applicants can voluntarily disclose this information. Connecticut’s law affects individuals, LLC’s, corporations, voluntary associations, partnerships, public corporation, as well as state or political subdivision.

  • Delaware. Effective Dec. 14, 2017. This state simply states that “all employers or an employer’s agent” are prohibited from asking or screening candidates based on their salary history.

  • Hawaii. Effective Jan. 1, 2019. Hawaii also forbids all employers, agents of employers, and employment agencies from asking about salary history. Applicants can disclose this information voluntarily.

  • Chicago, Illinois. Effective April 10, 2018. Currently, this applies to the city of Chicago only for city departments. City hiring personnel may not ask for the salary history of any applicant.

  • Louisville, Kentucky. Effective May 17, 2018. The Louisville/Jefferson County Metro County department, office, or agency may not ask regarding the salary history of applicants.

  • New Orleans, Louisiana. Effective Jan 25, 2017. This law applies only within the city of New Orleans for candidates who are applying for city jobs.

  • Massachusetts. Effective July 1, 2018. This is a state-wide ban, including state and municipal employers. Candidates may not be asked about their salary history; however, employers can confirm pay history if an applicant provides it voluntarily.

  • Kansas City, Missouri. Effective Date July 26, 2018. This affects only those candidates applying with the Kansas City only. The City may not ask applicants their salary history until after they have been hired and their starting salary clearly stated.

  • New Jersey. Effective Date Feb. 1, 2018. New Jersey enacted a state-wide ban which prohibits applicants for their salary history, including state and city job applicants.

  • New York. Effective Date Jan. 9, 2017. This state-wide ban does not apply to private businesses and corporations but affects all departments and agencies that the governor has authority over. This would include state agencies, except for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

  • New York City, New York. Effective Date Oct. 31, 2017. This law applies to all employers and employment agencies within the city of New York, prohibiting them from asking about salary history.

  • Albany County, New York. Effective Date Dec. 17, 2017. This law applies to all employers and employment agencies within Albany County. Employers are forbidden from asking about an applicant’s salary history until after a job offer has been made.

  • Westchester County, New York. Effective Date July 9, 2018. Labor organizations, employment agencies, licensing agencies, and employers are not allowed to ask about an applicant’s previous wages.

  • Oregon. Effective Date Oct. 6, 2017. This is a state-wide ban prohibiting any employer, including state, city, county, district, or corporation from asking about an applicant’s pay history until after a job has been offered.

  • Pennsylvania. Effective Date Sept. 4, 2018. This law is state-wide but applies only to job applicants seeking state employment. Agencies are forbidden from asking about an applicant’s job salary and all job listings must list the pay scale of the position offered.  The City of Philadelphia- A law prohibiting employers from asking about salary history was challenged in court and awaits a judge’s decision.

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Effective Date Jan. 30, 2017. This law applies only to applicants seeking jobs for the city of Pittsburgh. City agents are prohibited from asking about an applicant’s salary history.

  • Puerto Rico (Commonwealth). Effective Date March 8, 2017. This law prohibits all employers from asking about an applicant’s salary history, with a few exceptions should an applicant voluntarily offer this information.

  • Vermont. Effective Date July 1, 2018. This is a state-wide ban which prohibits all employers from asking about a candidate’s salary history.

It’s interesting to note that Wisconsin and Michigan have opposing laws, which prohibit laws or ordinances that ban employers from asking about salary histories.

Of course, there are certainly ways employers can be creative and get around these laws, but these types of laws regarding salary history appear to be on the upswing, with more states, counties, and cities considering similar legislation.

While you might not be affected at this time, it would be wise to consider changing your HR forms and altering questions regarding an applicant’s salary history in case things change in the near future.