It May Soon Be Illegal For Employees To Ask Your Salary History

September 1, 2016  |  



Isn’t is awkward when a potential employer asks about your salary history? It totally puts you at a disadvantage in negotiations and sometimes it comes too late in the game. The good news is it may soon become illegal for companies to ask candidates about their salary history.

The movement started in Massachusetts, where employers are not prohibited to ask such questions, and this may become the trend across the country. “A trio of legislators announced this week they will introduce a bill that will prohibit employers from asking job-seekers about their salary history before making a job offer,” reported Glamour. Among the bill’s sponsors are Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rosa DeLauro, and Jerrold Nadler. (You may recall Norton also introduced the Fair Pay Act of 2015, which, if it does get passed, would require women and men doing the same or comparable work to be paid the same or comparable wages, a statement noted.)

One of the reasons legislators want this to happen is because some experts say that requesting someone’s salary history before making a job offer only perpetuates the wage gap.

“Because many employers set wages based on an applicant’s previous salary, workers from historically disadvantaged groups often start out behind their white male counterparts in salary negotiations and never catch up,” the announcement states. “Even though many employers may not intend to discriminate on the basis of gender, race, or ethnicity, asking for prior salary information before offering an applicant a job can have a discriminatory effect in the workplace that begins or reinforces the wage gap.”

Massachusetts passed a bill in early August that makes it illegal for employers to ask about salary history. It is the only state in the nation in to pass such a bill, although comparable laws are also being proposed in New York City, New York, California, and Colorado.

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