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HR

Salary history bans: What employers must know as more states outlaw questions on prior pay

Posted by Kanika Sinha

October 7, 2021    |     3-minute read (489 words)

In an attempt to reduce pay disparities, more states across the U.S. are enacting laws that forbid employers from seeking salary history information from job applicants.

But these laws vary in scope and applicability. For example, some apply only to state agencies, and others prohibit employers from relying on an employee’s pay history for setting compensation if the candidate’s salary history is discovered or volunteered. 

This lack of uniformity makes compliance with salary history ban rules a tricky task for employers.  

To help HR managers stay abreast of these laws, we have compiled a comprehensive list of states that have outlawed pay history questions during the hiring process. Click any state name to see its salary history ban law.

Alabama

Employers affected: All

California

Employers affected: All 

Of note: Employers must also give job applicants pay scale information if requested.

Colorado

Employers affected: All

Of note: Employers may not discriminate or retaliate against candidates for not disclosing pay history.

Connecticut

Employers affected: All 

Delaware

Employers affected: All; employers’ agents

Of note: Employers may verify salary history after extending an offer.

Hawaii

Employers affected: All

Of note: The law does not apply to internal applicants, that is, those seeking an internal transfer or promotion with their current employer.

Illinois

Employers affected: All

Of note: Employers may discuss job applicants' salary expectations.

Maine

Employers affected: All

Of note: Employers may inquire about a job applicant’s previous salary after making an offer.

Maryland

Employers affected: All

Of note: Employers may confirm salary history after extending a job offer. Employers must provide job applicants with the wage range of the position, if requested.

Massachusetts

Employers affected: All

Of note: Employers may confirm prior pay history if volunteered by the applicant or after an employment offer has been extended.

New Jersey

Employers affected: All

Of note: Employers may verify salary history once a compensation offer has been extended.

New York

Employers affected: All

Of note: Employers may only confirm pay history at the time of offer if applicants provide pay history to support a higher salary than being offered.

North Carolina

Employers affected: State agencies

Oregon

Employers affected: All

Of note: Employers may use previous salary information for existing employees moving to a new position within the organization.

Pennsylvania

Employers affected: State agencies

Of note: All posted jobs must clearly disclose pay scale/range.

Rhode Island

Employers affected: All 

Of note: Employers may confirm and rely on pay history after an employment offer is made to support a higher wage than that initially offered. Additionally, employers are required to make pay scale disclosures. 

Vermont

Employers affected: All

Virginia

Employers affected: State agencies

Washington

Employers affected: All

Of note: Employers may confirm previous salary information if the applicant voluntarily discloses it or if an offer has been extended. Also, employers with 15 or more employees are mandated to provide the minimum salary information for the position upon the applicant’s request.

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