More cities and states are following the lead of Connecticut and other jurisdictions by passing laws prohibiting employers from asking job applicants about their salary history.

The Connecticut General Assembly passed legislation in 2018 banning salary history questions before a job offer is made unless a candidate voluntarily discloses that information.

In all, 17 states and 19 municipalities currently have bans that prohibit employers from asking about an applicant's salary history.

The laws vary by jurisdiction.

California's law, which covers the entire state, prevents salary history questions, but does allow employers to ask candidates to describe their ideal salary range.

New York does not have a statewide ban but has four jurisdictions that prevent employers from asking about salary history.

Liability

Two states—Michigan and Wisconsin—forbid salary question bans.

A Connecticut employer who violates the state's law risks being found liable for compensatory and punitive damages, attorney's fees, and whatever legal and equitable relief a court deems proper.

While salary history questions are allowed many states, here are some steps employers can take to avoid violating salary history ban laws:

  • Don't ask applicants how much they earned in their previous jobs
  • Don't ask a candidate's current or former employers about their pay history
  • Don't ask a candidate's current or past coworkers for salary history information
  • Don't use any salary history information you receive to determine how much to offer a job candidate
  • Review the details of any laws or regulations that impact your business and verify you're allowed to ask about salary expectations

For more information, contact CBIA's Mark Soycher (860.244.1128) | @HRHotline