Cities And States Around The USA Are Banning Salary History Inquiries

On January 23rd, 2017 Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed The Wage Equity Ordinance, stating that employers are no longer allowed to inquire potential employees of their salary history or view it on their background checks. This new law, which took effect in May of 2017 makes Philadelphia the first city to start this trend.

(Bill No. 160840)

“Amending Title 9 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “Regulation of Businesses, Trades
and Professions,” by adding a new Chapter on wage equity prohibiting employers from
inquiring about salary history, including definitions, duties, penalties, posting
requirements, a private right of action and other related items regarding wage equity; all
under certain terms and conditions.”

The Wage Equity Ordinance

Citing a 2015 U.S. Census Bureau report, the wage equity ordinance says women on average, 79 cents for every dollar made by men, and the disparity is greater for women of color. The law, first of its kind passed by a U.S. city, is intended to close the pay gap between men and women. Some argue this wage gap starts early in women’s careers and is perpetuated when they are asked to state their salaries going forward.

The wage equity ordinance will become a part of the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance, which is the local law that governs unlawful discrimination.

Federal Government has not provided much clarity or set guidelines in these areas of law, which leaves it to the state and local levels of government to set clear guidelines.

In 2018, a Massachusetts ban on salary history questions will take effect. New York State has recently prohibited state agencies from asking about prior pay. Many other large cities and states are following Phillidolpia’s lead, such as California.

Multistate employers should be aware that these cities have legislation in the works in regards to banning salary history questions during the pre-employment or application processes.

  • California has banned private and public employers from asking about a candidate’s pay history. The law will take effect in January 2018, according to
  • Delaware banned all employers from asking candidates about their salary history. The law will take effect in December 2017, according to Duane Morris.
  • Massachusetts prohibited all employers from inquiring about a candidate’s pay history. This law will go into effect in July 2018, according to
  • New Orleans banned inquiries about all city departments and employees of contractors who work for the city. The rule is already in effect, but, in this case, it only impacts individuals who are interviewing to work for the city of New Orleans, according to WDSU.
  • New York City has banned public and private employees from asking about a candidate’s pay history. The law goes into effect October 31, 2017, Business Insider previously reported.
  • Oregon has banned all employers for inquiring about a candidate’s salary history. The law goes into effect January 2019according to Jackson Lewis.
  • Philadelphia banned the salary history question for all employers. The rule was supposed to take effect May 23, but a judge halted it temporarily due to a lawsuit from the Chamber of Commerce, according to NBC.
  • Pittsburgh banned city agencies from asking about candidates’ pay history. The rule is effective immediately, but only effects city employees, SHRM reported.
  • Puerto Rico banned employers from inquiring about a candidate’s pay history. The law will go into effect March 2018, according to Jackson Lewis.

Salary History

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