New California Law Bars Salary History Questions

New California Law Bars Salary History Questions

California is the fourth state, after Massachusetts, Oregon and Delaware, to bar employers from asking job applicants about their salary history, including the rate of compensation and benefits. The new law (A.B. 168) comes in effect on January 1, 2018 and will apply to all employers throughout the state.  There are two main exceptions to the salary history restriction.  First, employers may review and consider any publicly available salary history information.  Second, an applicant may “voluntarily and without prompting” disclose his or her salary history to a potential employer.  A.B. 168 will also require employers to provide the salary range for the opening, if asked.

The law is intended to help eliminate the gender salary gap.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics last year fully employed women in California made on average 88 cents to every dollar a man made.  Consequently, the salary history question disproportionately affects women and perpetuates the gender salary gap.

To comply with the new law, the employers should remove salary history questions from their job applications, make appropriate changes to their employee handbooks, and retrain their hiring personnel.  For instance, the hiring personnel may discuss an applicant’s salary expectations instead of asking about his or her salary history.

Evelina Gentry

Evelina Gentry is an associate with Brown White & Osborn LLP.She specializes in both federal and state civil litigation with focus on civil rights, bankruptcy, and First Amendment issues.