States with Salary History Bans: Employer’s Guide (2024)

Requesting job applicants’ salary histories has been a pretty common practice for employers over the years. Recruiters and hiring managers often use this knowledge to exclude people from the candidate pool, either because the applicant is “too expensive” or their previous salary is so low, hiring managers think the person is poorly qualified or inexperienced.

Businesses have also used previous salary information to calculate new hire compensation—a process that can perpetuate pay disparity between women and men. To address this inequality, several states and municipalities have enacted bans on asking for previous salary information, although laws vary in terms, scope and applicability.

To help employers, we’ve prepared a list of states that have enacted salary history bans, which employers are affected and what the specific legislation entails.

States with Salary History Bans: Employer’s Guide (1)

The states and territories that have enacted salary history bans include:

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
StateMunicipalityEmployers AffectedLaw
AlabamaAllEmployers can’t decline hiring, interviewing, promoting or employing an applicant if they refuse to provide their pay history.
CaliforniaAllEmployers can’t ask for an applicant’s pay history. If they already have the information or the applicant volunteers it, that information can’t be used to determine pay. Employers are also required to provide pay scale information if an applicant asks.
CaliforniaSan FranciscoAll (incl. contractors and subcontractors)Employers can’t ask for or use an applicant’s compensation when setting pay. Employers also can’t disclose a current or former employee’s salary without their consent.
ColoradoAllEmployers can’t ask for an applicant’s pay history. They also can’t use pay history to set salaries. They can’t discriminate or retaliate against a candidate who doesn’t disclose their pay history.
ConnecticutAllEmployers can’t ask for an applicant’s pay history, unless the applicant voluntarily disclosed the information.
DelawareAllEmployers can’t screen applicants based on past salary and they can’t ask about compensation history. They can verify salary after extending an offer.
District of ColumbiaGovernment agenciesGovernment agencies can’t ask applicants for their pay history unless it’s brought up by the candidate after an employment offer is extended.
GeorgiaAtlantaCity agenciesThe city can no longer ask for pay history on its applications, in interviews or employment screenings.
HawaiiAll (incl. employment agencies)Employers can’t ask about pay history. They also can’t use that information unless the applicant volunteers it. The law doesn’t apply to internal applicants.
IllinoisState agenciesThe state can’t ask applicants about pay history.
IllinoisAllEmployers can’t ask about pay history including benefits or other compensation but they can discuss the applicant’s pay expectations.
IllinoisChicagoCity departmentsCity departments can’t ask for compensation history.
KentuckyLouisvilleLouisville/Jefferson County Metro Government offices and agenciesCity offices can’t ask for an applicant’s pay history.
LouisianaNew OrleansCity departmentsCity offices can’t ask for an applicant’s compensation history. Applicants can provide pay history to negotiate a higher salary after an offer is made.
MaineAllEmployers can’t ask for an applicant’s pay history until a job has been offered.
MarylandAllEmployers can provide an applicant with a wage range for the position and can confirm voluntarily provided pay history once an offer of employment is made. Employers cannot retaliate against an applicant that does not voluntarily provide this information.
MarylandMontgomery CountyThe county can’t use pay history to decide whether to hire an applicant. They also can’t retaliate against or decline to hire a person who refuses to share this information. The county can use pay history to offer a higher salary than initially offered as long as this doesn’t result in unequal pay for equal work and the information was voluntarily disclosed.
MassachusettsAllEmployers can’t ask for pay history. They can confirm history if the applicant volunteers or if they’ve extended an offer.
MichiganPrivate employersMichigan has banned pay history bans.
MichiganState departmentsState offices can’t ask an applicant about their pay history until a conditional employment offer is made. They also can’t ask current or prior employers or search public records to get that information. If salary is already known, it can’t be used to make a hiring decision..
MississippiJacksonCity officesCity offices can’t ask for pay history.
MissouriAll employers with 6+ employeesEmployers can’t ask for or use pay history when offering employment or determining salary, benefits or other compensation. They can discuss the applicant’s pay expectations. Prohibitions don’t apply to information disclosed by the applicant.
MissouriKansas CityCity officesCity offices can’t ask for pay history until the person has been hired.
MissouriSt. LouisCity officesCity offices can’t ask for salary history or refuse to hire applicants refusing to disclose salary history.
NevadaAll employersEmployers cannot ask for pay history or refuse to hire, interview, promote or employ applicants who do not provide it.
New JerseyAllEmployers may not screen applicants based on pay history nor require specific pay history to satisfy a minimum or maximum criteria. Employers may confirm pay history after an offer of employment.
New YorkAll state agencies and departments (except Port Authority)State offices can’t request pay history until after an employment offer is made. If previous compensation is already known, it can’t be used to determine an applicant’s salary.
New YorkPrivate employersEmployers can’t ask for pay history. An employer can confirm salary if the applicant gives a pay history to support a higher salary when a job is offered.
New YorkNew York CityAllEmployers can’t ask about previous pay or benefits. If they already have that information, they’re can’t use it to set pay.
New YorkAlbany CountyAllEmployers can’t request past compensation information until after a job offer is made.
New YorkSuffolk CountyAllEmployers can’t request past compensation information. They can’t search public records or use known salary information to set pay.
New YorkWestchester CountyAllEmployers can’t request past compensation information. They can confirm past pay and use that information in setting pay in certain circ*mstances.
North CarolinaState agenciesState agencies can’t request previous compensation information and can’t use previously obtained salary information to set pay.
OhioCincinnatiState and local governments are excluded, with the exception of CincinnatiEmployers can’t ask for compensation history or use known salaries. They’re also required to provide a pay scale for a position if the applicant has received an employment offer.
OhioToledoEmployers with 15 or more employees located in the cityEmployers can’t ask for pay history. They also can’t require an applicant’s compensation to satisfy minimum or maximum criteria. They can discuss an applicants’ pay expectations.
OregonAllEmployers can’t ask about pay history until an employment offer has been made. They’re also prohibited from using previous salary information to set pay, except for existing employees moving to a new role.
PennsylvaniaState agenciesState agencies can’t ask about current compensation or compensation history. Additionally all job postings have to clearly disclose a position’s pay scale and range.
PennsylvaniaPittsburghCity offices and agenciesCity employers can’t ask about prior pay. If they discover the information, they’re prohibited from using it unless the applicant has volunteered it.
PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaCity offices and agenciesCity employers cannot inquire about an applicant’s wage history or retaliate against an applicant for failing to provide wage history. City employers also cannot rely on wage history in determining wages for an employee unless applicant willingly disclosed wage history.
Puerto RicoAllEmployers can’t request pay histories, but voluntary salary disclosures made after a job offer has been extended are allowed.
Rhode IslandStatewideAll employersEmployers can’t ask for pay history or rely on the information to determine pay. They can confirm and rely on pay history after an offer is made to support a higher wage than initially offered.
South CarolinaColumbiaCity agenciesThe city can’t use pay history unless the applicant voluntarily provides the information.
South CarolinaRichland CountyCounty officesRichland County has deleted the pay history question from its applications, interviews and employment screenings.
UtahSalt Lake CityCity officesCity offices can’t ask an applicant about their compensation history. If the applicant voluntarily provides the information, it can’t be used to determine current salary.
VermontAllEmployers can’t request pay histories. If the information is volunteered, they can only confirm after making a job offer.
VirginiaAllCompensation history has been removed from state applications.
WashingtonState agenciesEmployers can’t ask for pay history. They can confirm voluntarily disclosed information before or after an offer has been extended. Businesses with 15 or more employees must provide the minimum salary for the position upon applicant request and after an offer has been extended.
WisconsinAllWisconsin has banned salary history bans.

What is the Reason Behind the Salary History Ban?

One of the goals of the compensation history ban is to help close the gender wage gap. Women often start out earning less than men in their careers because they are paid based on their previous salaries, which tend to be lower than men’s salaries. This cycle continues throughout women’s careers, leading to women earning less than men in general, and it starts during the hiring process.

By prohibiting a salary history inquiry, it also protects potential employees from biased hiring practices based on their previous earnings.

In What States is it Illegal to Ask for Salary History?

It is illegal, state-wide, in the following states to ask for compensation history during the hiring process:

Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

Also, it is illegal District-wide in the District of Columbia, and Commonwealth-wide in Puerto Rico.

It’s important to also note that Wisconsin and Michigan have ended salary history bans for all employers except state departments. Local governments in those states may not regulate the information that employers can request or require during the hiring process.

Are Employers Allowed to Ask Your Current Salary?

An employer or employment agency cannot ask a job applicant about current or past salary where it is illegal. It has been shown that this information has been used greatly to create such a wide wage gap between men and women.

Some states do not have these laws, so an employer may be able to ask about your current salary expectations. In some cases, the employer will provide the salary range you can expect.

How to Comply With Pay History Ban Laws

There are a couple of things that employers can do in order to comply with pay history ban laws. First, they must refrain from asking about an applicant’s wage history during the interview process. Additionally, if an employer learns that an employee’s pay has been discriminatory in the past, they can take steps to remedy the situation.

If you are an employer, it is important to be aware of pay history ban laws in your area. These laws are designed to protect employees from discrimination, and they can help ensure that everyone has a fair chance at earning a living wage.

Tips on How to Avoid Salary History in Interviews

Be sure and let your hiring managers know about all local laws in effect preventing employers from asking questions related to this topic. You can do this through internal communication or by posting a notice in a common area where all current employees will see it. This will allow you to avoid any fines or penalties that could come from breaking these laws. Additionally, avoid relying on past wages when making salary offers to new employees, as some job applicants will volunteer that information without it being asked.

By taking steps to comply with these laws, you can help create a more level playing field for all workers.

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States with Salary History Bans: Employer’s Guide (2)

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States with Salary History Bans: Employer’s Guide (2024)


Do salary history bans work? ›

Salary history bans have been found to be effective in reducing pay gap between men and women. Research suggests that these bans reduced the gender pay gap by 2 percentage points in states which have these bans in place.

Is it illegal to ask for salary history in Pennsylvania? ›

Employers may not request salary history before an offer is made. Employers may not inquire about pay history, nor refuse to hire, interview, promote, or employ applicants who do not provide pay history. Employers can ask applicants about their pay expectations.

Can employers ban salary discussion? ›

Employees are often prohibited from discussing their salary and remuneration through pay secrecy clauses in their employment contract. Pay secrecy clauses are particularly common in industries that offer bonuses or discretionary incentives. Some businesses use these clauses to differentiate pay amongst employees.

Is it legal to ask for salary history in North Carolina? ›

North Carolina

State agencies may not request pay history information from applicants and may not rely upon previously obtained prior salary information in setting pay.

How do you avoid salary history? ›

Applicants “should not disclose their previous salary but instead reframe their answer to express their salary expectations or requirements for the job,” according to Hoy. In other words, tell them what you expect to make, not what you're currently paid.

Does Texas have a salary history ban? ›

Salary history.

Were you asked by a Texas employer about your salary history and are wondering whether they just broke the law? They didn't. While the salary history ban is spreading nationwide, it's still a very legal question to ask in Texas.

Can you ask salary history in Georgia? ›

The law will allow the employer to ask about and verify the job applicant's past pay history, but only after the offer of employment stating the compensation terms has been accepted by the applicant.

Can employers ask salary history in Massachusetts? ›

Provisions of the Act

The Act prohibits employers from asking job applicants about salary history, with two exceptions: The candidate voluntarily discloses their pay; or. The employer extends an offer of employment to the candidate with stated compensation.

Can you ask salary history in Arizona? ›

Although Arizona employers aren't prohibited from asking about job applicants' salary history, you may not use salary history as a factor in setting pay. So why ask? Instead, you should consider setting a salary range and communicating it to applicants up front.

Can I talk about my salary with coworkers? ›

Your right to discuss your salary information with your coworkers is protected by the federal government. According to The New York Times, the National Labor Relations Act states that employers can't ban the discussion of salary and working conditions among employees.

Is it illegal to discuss wages in Florida? ›

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protects workers who discuss labor issues such as working conditions and pay. That makes it illegal for companies to impose "pay secrecy" policies.

Can you be fired for discussing salary in California? ›

An employer may not prohibit an employee from disclosing his or her own wages, discussing the wages of others, inquiring about another employee's wages, or aiding or encouraging any other employee to exercise rights under the Equal Pay Act.

Which states Cannot ask you for current salary? ›

Some cities also have salary history laws that prevent all employers from asking salary history questions. These cities include Atlanta, Georgia; Louisville, Kentucky; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and New York, New York.

Can you ask salary history in Tennessee? ›

Employees, Employers - As introduced, prohibits an employer from relying on, seeking, or requiring the wage or salary history of an applicant or current employee when making certain decisions related to hiring.

Is it illegal to ask for salary history in Ohio? ›

The law prohibits employers from screening applicants based on their pay history, requiring applicants to disclose previous pay as a condition of employment, or requiring that the applicant's former pay meets a certain minimum or maximum criteria. Employers may, however, discuss applicants' pay expectations.

What if employer asks for salary history? ›

In most states, employers are free to ask job applicants about their current or prior salaries. However, many states and cities are considering salary history bans that prohibit this practice.

Why you should not disclose your salary? ›

Without the crucial information about how much your income is, and what you can actually afford, others will not be able to tell. They would find you spend on something and hold back on something else, and not be able to judge or interfere.

Do you have to share salary history? ›

Not all employers will ask candidates to share their salary history and, depending on the employment laws in your state, you may not encounter the question at all. If an employer doesn't ask you for this information, there's no need to include it with your application or during any other phase of the hiring process.

Does Texas follow the 7 year rule? ›

How Many Years Back Does a Background Check Go in Texas? In the state of Texas, criminal background checks generated by an employer can go back seven years into an applicant's criminal and personal history.

Does Alabama have a salary history ban? ›

Unlike laws in some other states, the Alabama law does not bar employers from asking for salary history information, but prohibits employers from refusing to interview or hire applicants who decline to provide such information.

Can an employer verify my salary history Texas? ›

If a prospective employer contacts your previous workplace, your prior employer can legally disclose anything about your employment, including your salary, job duties, vacation days taken, disciplinary action, or concerns about your job performance.

Can you ask salary history in Chicago? ›

No. It is unlawful for an employer or their agent to ask for a wage or salary history, benefits or other compensation from an applicant's employer or former employers when conducting verification or reference checks.

Can the federal government ask for salary history? ›

“As you know, Section 12 of [the order] directs you to, in part, review and revise compensation practices, and consider banning agencies from 'seeking or relying on an applicant's salary history during the hiring process' when setting federal pay.”

Is it illegal to ask current salary in Massachusetts? ›

Current compensation and/or salary history though is now illegal in Massachusetts. Massachusetts is the first state to prohibit salary history questions before extending an offer of employment. The regulation is called the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA) and mandates equal pay for comparable work.

Can you ask salary history in Virginia? ›

That the Code of Virginia is amended by adding in Article 1 of Chapter 3 of Title 40.1 a section numbered 40.1-28.7:10 as follows: § 40.1-28.7:10. Seeking wage or salary history of prospective employees prohibited; civil penalty.

Why is salary confidential? ›

So employees joining a particular job can have different starting salaries based on what they earned in the previous job and how they negotiated when they joined the company. The biggest reason for maintaining salaries confidential is to mask the pay differences between those performing the same job.

Can HR tell other employees your salary? ›

If you have access to company wage and payroll information, you cannot share employee pay information with others unless your employer or an investigative agency has directed you to share that information. Basically, you do not have a right to reveal someone else's salary with others.

Is it rude to discuss salary with friends? ›

Discussing Salary

It's rude to ask how much money someone else makes, and it's also rude to share how much money you make (unless there is good reason to do so, i.e. someone is looking for a job in your field and wants to know a typical salary range). "This can make people feel uncomfortable," Porter said.

Is it illegal to talk about wages in Arizona? ›

You cannot forbid employees – either verbally or in written policy – from discussing salaries or other job conditions among themselves. Discussing salary at work is protected regardless of whether employees are talking to each other in person or through social media.

Is it illegal to discuss wages in NY? ›

and Disclosure of Wages

Section 194 of the Labor Law prohibits employers from restricting employees' ability to inquire about, discuss, or disclose wages with other employees.

Can you get fired for sharing your salary? ›

But more often, pay secrecy policies are used to hide wage gaps. Because of this, California has passed laws that provide employees with the right to discuss their wages. Your employer cannot prohibit you from sharing how much you make or asking other employees how much they make.

Can I sue my boss for talking behind my back? ›

If someone defames you and damages your reputation, you can sue them. Although states laws do differ, you generally have to show the following to make out a defamation case: Someone at least negligently makes a false factual statement about you.

Can employer ask previous employer your salary California? ›

California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 168 into law in October of 2017. The new law went into effect on January 1, 2018. Assembly Bill 168 prohibits California employers from asking about an applicant's prior salary. If an applicant asks, employers are also required to provide a pay range for the job.

Can employees discuss wages in Ohio? ›

Unless you are a part of a union or other such collective agreement, you and your coworkers have the right to openly discuss your salaries and benefits.

What states have to list salary? ›

States That Require Employers to Provide Salary Ranges
  • California. Law Title: Equal Pay Act. ...
  • Colorado. Law Title: Equal Pay for Equal Work Act. ...
  • Connecticut. Law Title: House Bill 6380. ...
  • Maryland. Law Title: Equal Pay for Equal Work Act. ...
  • Nevada. ...
  • New Jersey (Jersey City) ...
  • New York (NYC & Ithaca) ...
  • Ohio (Toledo & Cinncinati)
8 Nov 2022

Is discussing salary in USA illegal? ›

Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or the Act), employees have the right to communicate with other employees at their workplace about their wages. Wages are a vital term and condition of employment, and discussions of wages are often preliminary to organizing or other actions for mutual aid or protection.

What states have to show salary ranges? ›

New York City has joined a handful of places, including Colorado, Washington State and Rhode Island, which require some form of salary transparency. In the case of New York City, companies are required to include a salary range when they post a job opening.

Is it illegal to ask for salary history in Maryland? ›

The ban prohibits an employer from relying on an applicant's wage history in screening or considering the applicant for employment or in determining wages, even if the applicant voluntarily discloses this information. Employers may not retaliate.

Is it illegal to ask previous salary NYC? ›

Salary History Questions During Hiring Process are Illegal in NYC. Effective Oct. 31, 2017, it became illegal for public and private employers of any size in New York City to ask about an applicant's salary history during the hiring process, including in advertisem*nts for positions, on applications, or in interviews.

How do salary bands work? ›

Salary bands (or pay ranges) are how you define the target pay for employees within job grades. For each level, a company should decide the low-end and high-end of the pay that level will command. Salary bands help when making offers, retaining employees, and planning for future growth.

Can I backdate my salary? ›

Can a pay rise be backdated? The answer is yes. This is something that happens quite commonly. For example, an employee gets a pay raise effective from March, but this takes time to get processed, so it doesn't show up until April's payroll, which means they should get a backdated salary increase.

What happens if I don't declare previous employer salary? ›

However, it's always advised to report it to the current organization while joining the organisation or within a month of joining. Otherwise, non disclosing may let you recompute your tax liability while filing Income Tax return and deposit the differential tax amount along with interest penalty.

Why salary history is important? ›

Many employers use salary history as a metric to screen, evaluate, or compare applicants; set compensation; or negotiate salaries.

Can you negotiate above salary band? ›

However, if the salary range is close to what you're seeking, it may be possible to negotiate even if you want an amount slightly above the top of the range.

What is a typical salary band? ›

That's where salary bands come in. ‍Salary bands refer to the minimum and maximum amount a company is willing to pay someone within a job level. For example, a level-one HR professional might be eligible to earn between $50,000 to $70,000.

What are the disadvantages of using salary bands? ›

Some Drawbacks of Pay Banding

One potential drawback of pay banding is that in the process of valuing jobs the organization may find that some jobs have been undervalued and, consequently, payroll costs may rise.

How do I bump my salary? ›

Take some time to review your work from the past year, noting new responsibilities, accomplishments, skill development and other contributions to the company. Then, make an appointment with a supervisor to talk about discussing your role. Be smart about picking your timing to introduce the topic of a raise.

What is retrospective salary? ›

Retro pay also known as retroactive pay refers to the compensation added to an employee's pay check to counteract an error in payment from the previous compensation cycle.

How do I submit a former employer salary? ›

Form 12b is an income tax form that needs to be furnished according to Rule 26A by an individual joining a new organisation or company in the middle of the year. The main purpose of the form is to furnish details of the income earned by the individual from the previous employer.

Is it okay not to declare your previous employer? ›

An effective resume provides insight to relevant experiences and accomplishments. Therefore, you do not need to include information on every employer you have worked with in the past.

Can I get salary from two companies? ›

But he should disclose to any Employer company (at his option) that he is in receipt of salary from another company for the purpose of Compliance of TDS provision. This disclosure is not mandatory but it is advisable.

What to say when you don't want to disclose your salary? ›

But you still have options–here are a few: Salary information is something I only share with my accountant. Or: My current/previous employer considers that information confidential.

Why is salary kept secret? ›

To many people, it's the polite and right thing to do to keep your pay to yourself—to keep your salary secret. The assumed reason is that if everybody knew what everybody got paid, then all hell would break loose. There would be complaints. There would be arguments.

Can employers ask what you currently make? ›

However, many states have their own laws about this question. California has one of the strongest laws. Private and public employers cannot ask your salary history, and even if they have the information, they cannot use it in setting your pay. New York has a similar law in place.

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