HR Management & Compliance

Illinois Law Banning Salary History Questions Takes Effect in January

A law amending the Illinois Equal Pay Act to prohibit employers from making preemployment inquiries about a job candidate’s salary history is set to take effect in January.

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The law applies to private employers with four or more employees as well as state agencies and school districts. It prohibits Illinois employers from screening job applicants based on their wage or salary history. In particular, it prohibits requiring an applicant to disclose previous wages or salary and also bars seeking that information, including benefits or other compensation, from any current or former employer.

An exception applies if a job applicant’s wage or salary history is a matter of public record. The measure also allows for accessing the salary history if a job applicant is applying for a different position with the same employer.

The law also prohibits employers from requiring employees to agree not to disclose or discuss wages, salary, benefits, or other compensation with coworkers. Also, human resources managers, supervisors, and others who have access to other employees’ compensation data may be prohibited from disclosing it.

What Employers Can Do

The law allows employers to provide information to job candidates about the position’s wages, benefits, and other compensation. Likewise, employers aren’t prohibited from engaging in discussions with an applicant about salary expectations, and employers won’t be in violation if an applicant “voluntarily and without prompting discloses his or her current or prior wage or salary history.”

For more information on the Illinois law on salary history questions, see the August issue of Illinois Employment Law Letter.

Steven L. Brenneman is an attorney at Fox, Swibel, Levin & Carroll, LLP in Chicago. He can be reached at

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