Don’t Ask! Prior Pay Question Prohibited

Do You Ask About Previous Salary History? It May be Illegal or Soon Will Be.

The laws governing candidate interview questions are changing, and salary negotiations may never be the same. Many state and local legislatures are banning employers from asking job candidates about their previous salary history. Legislators have been rethinking the prudence of this query, given the role it may play in perpetuating gender and racial disparities in compensation.

Renee Fink, CEO ClearPath Workforce Management, says,

“If there’s one thing job seekers are most apprehensive about, it’s answering the question: ‘How much did you make in your last job?’ Today’s organizations are rethinking this question.”

She believes, “salaries should be based on market values. They should be based on what the value of the position is to an employer, and they shouldn’t be variable depending on who the applicant is.”  Soliciting salary history can perpetuate discriminatory pay gaps. These new laws are an effort to reduce pay inequity, particularly for women and minorities.

Here are the states, cities, and jurisdictions where the salary question is banned or set to be banned soon, in some capacity:1

US State & Territories  


  Law Effective
California Banned private and public employers from asking about a candidate’s pay history. January 2018
Connecticut Employers may not ask about an applicant’s pay history, unless it was voluntarily disclosed. January 2019
Delaware Banned all employers from asking candidates about their salary history. December 2017
Hawaii Employers are prohibited from asking about applicants’ salary histories, and they cannot rely on that information unless volunteered by the applicant. The law does not apply to internal applicants. January 2019
Massachusetts Prohibited all employers from inquiring about a candidate’s pay history. July 2018
Oregon Banned all employers for inquiring about a candidate’s salary history. January 2019
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico banned employers from inquiring about a candidate’s pay history. March 2018
Maryland Current bill floating around its legislature that would enact a similar ban. No determination
New Jersey Agencies and offices are prohibited from asking job applicants for their compensation history or investigating the prior salaries of applicants. February 2018
New York State agencies and departments may not request salary history from applicants until after an offer of employment is extended. If an applicant’s prior compensation is already known, that information may not be relied upon in determining such applicant’s salary, unless required by law or collective bargaining agreement. January 2017
Vermont Employers may not request applicants’ pay history. If that information is volunteered, employers may only confirm it after a job offer has been made. July 2018
Michigan Michigan has prohibited salary history bans in the state. Local governments may not regulate the information that employers must request, require, or exclude on an application for employment or during the interview process. June 2018
Wisconsin Local governments may not prohibit employers from soliciting the salary history of prospective employees. April 2018


US Cities  


  Law Effective
Chicago City departments may not ask for applicants’ salary histories. April 2018
Louisville, KY City agencies may not ask for applicants’ salary histories. May 2018
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. January 2017
New York City Banned public and private employees from asking about a candidate’s pay history. October 2017
Philadelphia Banned the salary history question for all employers. The rule was supposed to take effect on May 23, 2017 but a judge halted it temporarily due to a lawsuit from the Chamber of Commerce. Halted
Pittsburgh Banned city agencies from asking about candidates’ pay history. The rule is effective immediately, but only affects city employees. January 2017
San Francisco Prohibits employers from both asking and considering a job applicant’s current or prior compensation in setting pay. It also bars them from disclosing a current or former employee’s salary information without their consent. July 2018


ClearPath Workforce Management is keeping pace with all these employment changes so you don’t have to.

Let ClearPath assist your organization with contingent worker employment. When ClearPath is your Employer of Record (EOR), we employ your W-2 contingent workers, and take over Human Resources and Payroll functions. We manage all paperwork, including employment agreements, worker eligibility, and statutory enrollment documents. Your organization will realize many benefits, such as:

  • Time Savings– Our EOR solution can free up your time for managing your core business and not your contingent workforce
  • Money Savings– ClearPath clients save, on average, 15 – 35% on their payroll costs by switching from a traditional staffing firm to our EOR services
  • Quickly ramp up staff– We shorten the time it takes to get your new workers onboard and productive, by handling all the details for you
  • Stay compliant with legislation– Local, state, and federal laws can change without warning – we stay up-to-date on legislation so you don’t have to

Work with a leader in the industry for outsourced Human Resources and Payroll functions associated with W-2 contingent workers. Get the benefits of hiring contingent workers without the potential risks. Use our helpful online calculators to determine your potential savings. Let ClearPath be the path to your peace of mind.