MARCH 2018 HR MAGAZINE 59
Ask applicants what their salary expectations are. The answer can help
screen out, early on, candidates whose
salary demands are well outside the
range of what an organization is willing to ofer. (Be aware, though, that research suggests that women may lowball their own salary asks.)
Train hiring and management personnel. Doing this helps ensure that
they are not inadvertently asking the
salary history question. Continue to
hold periodic training to make sure
everyone is updated on rule changes,
and distribute memos reminding
people of the law. Document training
by requiring managers to sign statements confrming their participation.
This can be critical if a company is
sued, says Mineola, N. Y.-based attorney Christopher P. Hampton. That
would enable the organization to
show it was an individual’s mistake
if the question is asked, and not a systematic failure.
Modify all paperwork to comply with
the bans. That includes the written
application, the employee handbook,
and the interview scripts for recruiters,
managers and HR, counsels Michael
Schmidt, vice chair of the labor and employment department in the New York
City ofce of Cozen O’Connor. Ensure
that there is no reference to salary history, “even if it’s couched in bells and
whistles that make it look voluntary,”
Most of all, don’t wait around to
change your hiring strategies simply because your state or city has not banned
salary history questions. Many large organizations are likely to get out in front
of the issue by changing their national
policies and complying with the most
stringent legislation enacted, according
to the Hay Group survey. “Get ahead of
the game,” Fisher urged, “because it’s
Susan Milligan is a freelance writer
based in Washington, D.C.
SALARY HISTORY BANS: WHAT’S THE LAW?
In these jurisdictions, the rules are as follows:
California—The Golden State’s law is more comprehensive than those in other jurisdictions, banning employers or
their agents (such as temp agencies and outside recruiters)
from seeking salary and benefits information. An exception is
made for salaries that are disclosable to the public under state
and federal freedom of information laws. Effective Jan. 1, 2018.
Delaware—Companies cannot ask applicants or their
former employers for salary histories and cannot conduct
salary-based screening of job applicants to make sure previous compensation meets minimum or maximum amounts.
Effective Dec. 14, 2017.
Massachusetts—As part of a broader new law aimed
at equal pay for equal and comparable work, the Bay State
bans organizations from seeking information about an applicant’s past pay. However, employers may confirm salary
information if offered voluntarily by the applicant, and after
an offer of employment with compensation has been made.
Effective July 1, 2018.
Oregon—Employers are barred from taking a person’s
current or previous salary into account when screening
applicants or determining their salaries. Companies may
ask about a person’s salary history after making a job offer,
including a specific level of pay. Most of the law’s provisions
become effective on Jan. 1, 2019.
Puerto Rico—Employers may not ask about salary history
unless an offer has been extended. Effective March 8, 2017.
New York City—Companies cannot ask about past salary,
nor base wages on pay history at any phase of the employment process, unless the applicant reveals the information
willingly. The statute applies to all employers, even those
with just one employee. While the law does not cover public
jobs subject to collective bargaining agreements, a separate
mayoral directive bars city government agencies from inquiring about a candidate’s salary history. Effective Oct. 1, 2017.
San Francisco—Employers cannot ask about past salaries or release pay information to another San Francisco
employer without the worker’s written permission. Effective
July 1, 2018.
In January, a number of jurisdictions banned the question for public-sector applicants only: In Pittsburgh, the law
applies to city employees; in New Orleans, it covers city
workers and contractors; and in New York state, it encom-passes state job applicants.