during any phase of the hiring process,
though they can ask the question after an individual has been hired at an
agreed salary. Other jurisdictions, such
as Delaware, Oregon and Massachusetts, allow employers to confrm previous salaries, but only after an ofer has
been made (including a specifc ofer of
compensation) to the applicant. Pittsburgh’s statute and a few others apply
only to public employees.
Penalties run the gamut as well. In
New York City, infractions are a violation of the city’s human rights law. That
means employers could be required to
pay damages and penalties of up to
$250,000 and undergo mandatary
training about the law. Delaware’s legislation imposes civil penalties of up to
$10,000 for each infraction.
Hiring could get even more complicated, depending on how the laws are
interpreted by the courts, says Joseph
Kroeger, a labor and employment lawyer with Snell & Wilmer in Tucson, Ariz.
For example, an applicant could argue
that companies that ask for salary his-tories―even if their own jurisdiction allows it—are violating the federal Equal
Pay Act because of the “disparate impact” of the legislation. In other words,
if women in one place are protected by
a law aimed at closing the gender pay
gap, while those someplace else aren’t,
it’s a form of discrimination, by impact
if not design.
In Philadelphia, the local Chamber of
Commerce is opposing the city’s salary
history ban law in court, arguing that
it violates the constitutional right to
free speech without providing clear ev-
idence that it will solve the problem of
unequal pay. The Philadelphia statute
has been stayed pending resolution of
the case, and if courts ultimately rule in
the chamber’s favor, laws in other juris-
dictions could face similar challenges.
In the meantime, here’s what HR and
legal experts advise when implementing a ban on asking job candidates
about their salary histories:
Know the law. As obvious as that
sounds, “labor and employment laws
are constantly changing, and many
are locally introduced, so unless you
have a fnger on the pulse of local legislation, you can easily miss important
changes,” says Robert Manfredo, a labor and employment lawyer with Bond,
Schoeneck & King in Albany, N. Y. HR
leaders in companies with offices in
diferent states or municipalities need
to learn which legislation afects them.
Further, in recent years the New York
State Attorney General’s ofce has held
employers responsible for what supervisors have said at job fairs, Manfredo
says, so your entire hiring team needs
to be aware of the law.
Change your mindset about compensation and negotiation. This may
be particularly tough, since many hiring managers rely on the “false sense
of security” that comes with ofering
a candidate a modest salary hike,
says Beth Conway, vice president of HR
at CA Technologies North American in
the Boston area. It means making sure
everyone from recruiters to hiring managers, supervisors and HR are on board
with aligning salaries to a new employee’s worth to the company―and not to
what a previous employer paid.
Figure out the salary range for each
job, and consider sharing pay bands
with applicants. (California requires
that.) Be very clear in job descriptions,
and update them regularly.
Conduct competitive market analyses. Use data to fnd out what other
businesses are paying for a particular
job and skill set, and stay up-to-date on
Instead of looking at what an applicant is earning, pay attention to the skill set the person has and how relevant it is to the job being filled.