HR Management & Compliance, Recruiting

States with Salary History Bans (Map)

Salary history bans continue to gain in popularity across the United States. Over 10 states and half a dozen cities have enacted laws that prohibit employers from inquiring about an applicants’ prior or current compensation. On the flip side, however, is one state that is going against the grain and is prohibiting governing bodies from enacting salary history ban laws.
The map below highlights which states and cities have such laws in place and provides more detail about who is impacted. Below the map is more information about each state or city law. To learn more about pre-employment inquiries in your state, check out BLR’s State Law Chart Builder.

Update, 5/18/20: This map has been updated to include the new laws in Montgomery County, Maryland, St. Louis, Missouri, and the state of North Carolina. 

Editor’s note: The municipalities featured in this map are just a small sample of the cities that have salary history ban laws. To find out if your city has a law in place you should contact your local Department of Labor or equivalent agency.

Alabama

Effective September 1, 2019, employers are prohibited from refusing to interview, hire, promote, or employ a job applicant because the applicant does not provide his or her wage history. “Wage history” means the wages paid to a job applicant by his or her current or former employer. Retaliation by an employer against an applicant is also prohibited.

California

Effective January 1, 2018, all employers in California are prohibited from seeking salary history information from job applicants. When requested, employers must provide an applicant with the pay scale for the position in question. Applicants may voluntarily and without prompting disclose their salary history information to a prospective employer. The employer is then free to consider or rely on that information in determining salary for the applicant.

San Francisco, California

Effective July 1, 2018, San Francisco’s “Parity in Pay Ordinance,” prohibits asking job applicants about their previous salary. The ordinance covers applicants in both the private and the public sector applying for jobs that will be performed within the city’s geographic boundaries and whose applications will be solicited, received, processed, or considered in San Francisco.

Colorado

The Colorado salary history ban goes into effect on January 1, 2021. Under the law, employers are prohibited from:

  • Seeking the wage rate history of a job applicant;
  • Relying on an applicant’s wage history to determine a wage rate;
  • Discharging or discriminating against an employee for exercising rights under the law on behalf of anyone or assisting in the enforcement of the law;
  • Discriminating against, coercing, intimidating, threatening, or interfering with an employee or other person because he or she inquired about, disclosed, compared, or otherwise discussed the employee’s wage rate;
  • Prohibiting an employee from disclosing the employee’s wage rate; or
  • Requiring an employee to sign a waiver or other document that prohibits the employee from disclosing wage information or denies the employee the rights to disclosure his or her wage rate information.

Connecticut

Effective January 1, 2019, state law prohibits employers from asking about a job applicant’s wage and salary history unless he or she has voluntarily disclosed the information.  The law also prohibits the use of a third party to obtain the information. There are exceptions if a federal or state law specifically authorizes the disclosure or verification of salary history for employment purposes. The law permits an employer to inquire about “other elements of a prospective employee’s compensation structure” as long as it does not inquire about the value of the elements.

Delaware

Effective December 14, 2017, employers are prohibited from asking about an applicant’s salary history or using salary history as a screening criterion. A candidate may volunteer salary information, and the law explicitly allows employers to discuss and negotiate compensation. Once a job offer (including the terms of compensation) has been extended and accepted, the employer may inquire about the applicant’s salary history, but it may not use the information to make pay decisions.

Atlanta, Georgia

Effective February 18, 2019, The City of Atlanta has removed the salary history question from its employment applications in an effort to ensure fair hiring practices.

Hawaii

Effective January 1, 2019, a new law prohibits prospective employers from requesting or considering a job applicant’s wage or salary history as part of an employment application process or compensation offer.

Illinois

Effective January 15, 2019, the State of Illinois will no longer ask prospective public employees questions about salary history, because of historic salary disadvantages women face.

Effective September 29, 2019, employers are prohibited from requesting or requiring a job applicant’s wage or salary history as a condition of:

  • Being considered for employment
  • Being interviewed
  • Continued consideration for an offer of employment
  • An offer of employment, or
  • An offer of compensation

The law also prohibits employers from:

  • Screening job applicants based on their current or prior wages or salary histories, including benefits or other compensation, by requiring the wage or salary history to satisfy minimum or maximum criteria; or
  • Requesting or requiring that an applicant disclose wage or salary history as a condition of employment.

Employers are prohibited from seeking the wage or salary history from an applicant’s current or former employer unless:

  • The job applicant’s wage or salary history is a matter of public record, or
  • The job applicant is a current employee applying for an internal position with the same employer.

It is not a violation of the law if an applicant voluntarily and without prompting discloses his or her wage or salary history. However, the employer may not consider or rely on the information as a factor in determining whether to offer the applicant a job, making an offer of compensation, or in determining future wages, salary, benefits, or other compensation.

Chicago, Illinois

Effective April 10, 2018, city employers are prohibited from screening job applicants based on their wage or salary history, including by requiring that an applicant’s prior wages, including benefits or other compensation, satisfy minimum or maximum criteria, or requesting or requiring that an applicant disclose prior wages or salary: (i) as a condition of being interviewed, (ii) as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment, (iii) as a condition of an offer of employment or an offer of compensation, or (iv) as a condition of employment. Additionally, public employers are prohibited from seeking the wage or salary history, including benefits or other compensation, of any job applicant from any current or former employer.

Louisville, Kentucky

Effective May 17, 2018, Louisville Metro government employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s salary history. Employers should not consider or rely on the salary history of an applicant in determining the salary, benefits, or other compensation during the hiring process; or refuse to hire, or otherwise disfavor, injure, or retaliate against an applicant for not disclosing his or her salary history to Louisville Metro.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Effective January 25, 2017, Executive Order MJL 17-01 bans questions about salary history during the application and interview processes for City positions and requests that the Civil Service Commission conduct a pay disparity study among City employees.

Maine

Effective September 17, 2019, the Law prohibits an employer from using or inquiring about a job applicant’s compensation history (ME Rev. Stat. Tit. 26 Sec. 628-A). An employer may not ask the applicant or the applicant’s current or former employer about the compensation history until after an offer of employment that includes all terms of compensation has been negotiated and made to the applicant. After the employment offer, an employer may inquire about or confirm the applicant’s wage history. There is an exception for employers that inquire about compensation history because a federal or state law specifically requires pay disclosure or verification for employment purposes.

Montgomery County, Maryland

Effective May 7, 2019, the County is prohibited from seeking a job applicant’s salary history, considering an applicant’s salary history when determining whether to offer employment, or determining pay, refusing to hire, or retaliating against an applicant who refuses to disclose his or her salary history.

Massachusetts

Effective July 1, 2018, the Pay Equity Act prohibits employers from asking applicants about their salary history before making an offer of employment that includes compensation. Consequently, employers will not be allowed to require applicants to provide wage and salary history on job applications or at any other time before a job offer is extended. Employers similarly cannot seek applicants’ pay history information from current or former employers before making an offer of employment and salary. An applicant may “voluntarily” disclose her salary history, and the employer may then verify past wages.

Michigan

Effective January 8, 2019, State departments and autonomous agencies subject to supervision by the Governor under Article 5, § 8 of the Michigan Constitution of 1963 shall not do either of the following: (a) Inquire about a job applicant’s current or previous salaries unless and until the department or agency first makes a conditional offer of employment, including an explanation of proposed compensation. (b) Make inquiry of a current or prior employer or search public records databases to ascertain an applicant’s current or previous salary.

State law prohibits local governments from adopting, enforcing, or administering an ordinance or policy that regulates the information an employer or potential employer must request, require, or exclude on job applications or during job interviews (MI Stat. Sec. 123.1384). Under the law, local governments cannot prohibit salary history inquiries by private employers.

Kansas City, Missouri

Effective July 26, 2018, city employment applications have been revised to eliminate the field requiring disclosure of past salary history. If there is a need for salary information, the City shall not inquire about an applicant’s salary history until after an individual otherwise qualified for the position, has been hired at an agreed upon salary.

St. Louis, Missouri

Effective March 11, 2020, city departments are prohibited from inquiring about a job applicant’s salary history, screening applicants based on their current or prior compensation, or requiring that an applicant’s prior compensation satisfies minimum or maximum criteria. The ordinance does not apply to applicants for internal transfer or promotion.

New Jersey

Effective February 1, 2018, public employers are prohibited from inquiring about a job applicant’s current or previous salaries unless and until the entity has made a conditional offer of employment, including an explanation of the overall compensation package to the applicant.

Effective January 1, 2020, private employers are prohibited from requiring job applicants to disclose their salary history, screening job applicants based on their salary history, or requiring an applicant’s salary history to satisfy minimum or maximum criteria.

New York

Effective January 9, 2017, all public employers are prohibited from asking, or mandating, in any form, that an applicant for employment provide his or her current compensation, or any prior compensation history, until such time as the applicant is extended a conditional offer of employment with compensation. Once a conditional offer of employment has been extended, a State entity may request and verify compensation information.

New York City, New York

Effective October 31, 2017, the New York City Human Rights Law restricts the ability of employers to make numerous pre-employment inquiries, including questions related to an applicant’s criminal history, credit history, and salary history as well as the applicant’s unemployment status.

North Carolina

Effective April 2, 2019, state agencies are prohibited from inquiring about a job applicant’s salary history and may not rely on previously obtained salary history information in determining an applicant’s salary.

Cincinnati, Ohio

Effective March 12, 2020, employers located within the city with 15 or more employees are prohibited from inquiring about the salary history of a job applicant (Cinn. Ord. 0083-2019 (3/13/2019)). Employers are prohibited from screening job applicants based on their current or prior wages, benefits, other compensation or salary histories. Employers may not rely on an applicant’s salary history in deciding whether to offer employment, or when determining salary or other compensation.

Employers are permitted to engage in discussions with the applicant about salary expectations. After a conditional offer of employment has been made, an employer must provide a job applicant with the pay scale for the position, if requested. The ordinance does not apply to a voluntary and unprompted disclosure of salary history information by an applicant; or to applicants who are re-hired by an employer within 5 years if the employer already has past salary history data. Applicants alleging a violation of the ordinance may bring a lawsuit against the employer within 2 years of the violation.

Toledo, Ohio

Effective June 2020, employers located within the city with 15 or more employees are prohibited from inquiring about the salary history of a job applicant. Employers are prohibited from asking for information about an applicant’s current or past compensation, including salary, benefits, and bonuses; screening applicants on the basis of their salary history; relying on an applicant’s salary history (even if the applicant volunteers it) when determining whether to make an employment offer or determining the amount of compensation offered to the applicant; and refusing to hire or retaliating against an applicant who declines to provide his salary history. The law does not apply to applicants for internal promotions or transfers or to jobs whose compensation and benefits are governed by a collective bargaining agreement.

An employer that violates the law may be sued by the applicant for damages, including attorneys’ fees. The applicant has 2 years from the date of the violation to file a lawsuit.

Oregon

Effective October 6, 2017, employers are prohibited from seeking salary history from an applicant or employee. An employer is able to verify any salary history information a job applicant provides, but only after making a job offer that includes a proposed compensation amount. The law also makes it unlawful for an employer to screen applicants based on their current or past compensation or even to determine compensation for a particular job based on the current or past compensation of the prospective employee. An employer may consider a current employee’s compensation for intercompany transfers and promotions.

Pennsylvania

Effective June 6, 2018, Commonwealth agencies under the Governor’s jurisdiction shall not inquire about a job applicant’s current compensation or compensation history at any stage during the hiring process. Applicants are not prevented from volunteering information about their current compensation level or salary history in negotiating a salary; however, no agency can request that an applicant disclose current salary or salary history information. In addition, applicants can refuse to disclose current compensation level and/or history without negative repercussions by the Agency in its employment decisions.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Effective February 6, 2020, City employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s wage history, require disclosure of wage history, or condition employment or consideration for an interview or employment on disclosure of wage history, or retaliate against an applicant for failing to comply with any wage history inquiry. City employers may not rely on the wage history of an applicant from any current or former employer of the individual in determining the wages for such individual at any stage in the employment process, including the negotiation or drafting of any employment contract, unless such applicant knowingly and willingly disclosed his or her wage history to the city.

An “employer” is “any person who does business in the City of Philadelphia through employees or who employs one or more employees.” Retaliation against an applicant for exercising his or her rights under the ordinance is prohibited. Employers are prohibited from relying on an applicant’s wage history to determine the pay for the new position unless the applicant knowingly and willingly discloses his or her wage history. The ordinance does not apply if a federal, state, or local law specifically authorizes the disclosure of wage history.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Effective January 1, 2017, City employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s wage history, require disclosure of wage history, or condition employment or consideration for an interview or employment on disclosure of wage history, or retaliate against an applicant for failing to comply with any wage history inquiry. City employers may not rely on the wage history of an applicant from any current or former employer of the individual in determining the wages for such individual at any stage in the employment process, including the negotiation or drafting of any employment contract, unless such applicant knowingly and willingly disclosed his or her wage history to the city.

Vermont

Effective July 1, 2018, employers are prohibited from inquiring about or seeking information about a job applicant’s current or past compensation from either the applicant or the applicant’s current or former employer. It is unlawful for an employer to decide whether to interview a job applicant based on his or her current or past compensation.  Employers are also prohibited from requiring that a job applicant’s current or past compensation meets minimum or maximum criteria. The law permits an employer to inquire about salary expectations or requirements, and to provide information about the wages, benefits, compensation, or salary offered for a position.

Washington

Effective July 28, 2019, employers are prohibited from seeking a job applicant’s wage or salary history from the job applicant or from the applicant’s current or former employer; or requiring that an applicant’s prior wage or salary history meet certain criteria (WA House Bill 1696, May 9, 2019). An employer may confirm an applicant’s wage or salary history if the applicant has voluntarily disclosed the information; or after the employer has negotiated and made an offer of employment including compensation to the applicant. There are additional requirements for employers with 15 or more employees:

  • When requested by an applicant after a job has been initially offered, an employer must provide the minimum wage or salary for the position.
  • When an employer has been offered an internal transfer to a new position or promotion, an employer must provide the wage scale or salary range for the new position. If there is no wage scale or salary range, an employer must provide the minimum wage or salary expectation set by the employer before posting the position, making a position transfer, or making the promotion.

Wisconsin

Effective April 16, 2018, an employer may solicit information regarding the salary history of prospective employees. No city, village, town, or county may enact or enforce an ordinance prohibiting an employer from soliciting information regarding the salary history of prospective employees.