HR Management & Compliance

Washington Ban on Pay History Inquiries to Take Effect July 28

Changes to the Washington Equal Pay and Opportunities Act (EPOA) taking effect on July 28 mean that, with some exceptions, employers will be prohibited from inquiring about wage or salary history and will be required to provide applicants and internal transfers with the wage scale or salary range for open positions upon request.

Source: designer491 / shutterstock

What’s Required

The amended EPOA (House Bill 1696) prohibits employers from seeking wage or salary history directly from job applicants or indirectly through their previous employer. But the law includes two exceptions to the general ban: Employers may confirm salary history if an applicant has “voluntarily disclosed” it, and if the employer already has negotiated with the applicant and made a job offer that includes the position’s compensation.

The amended law also requires employers to provide the minimum wage or salary for the position being sought if an applicant requests it. The employer must provide the wage or salary information to the applicant only after it has made an initial job offer.

The law also requires employers to provide a “wage scale or salary range” to a current employee who is offered an internal transfer, a new position, or a promotion. If no wage scale or salary range exists for a job, the employer must instead provide the minimum wage or salary expectation that it set prior to posting the position or offering the transfer or promotion to a current employee.

Who’s Covered

The salary history ban covers all Washington employers, regardless of size, but the requirement to disclose salary information to certain applicants and employees applies only to employers in the state with 15 or more employees.

For more information on Washington’s ban on pay history inquiries, see the July issue of Washington Employment Law Letter.

Lindsay McAleer is an attorney with Perkins Coie LLP in Seattle, Washington. She can be reached at