The Connecticut state House delayed a planned vote this week on a bill prohibiting employers from asking job applicants about their salary history.
HB 5210, which prohibits salary questions until a job offer, including compensation, is made, was expected to be called for a vote April 5.
House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin) said the bill's language was being revised, forcing a delay in taking a vote for at least a week.
House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-Derby) told reporters while she supported the issue of pay equity, HB 5210 would increase litigation against employers and creates an additional burden.
"There is no one who agrees more with equity pay than I do,” she said. “But the question is always, 'How do we get there?'
"[Asking questions about salary history] is a tool in the toolbox for an employer. I need to know how much you made at your other job when I make a decision."
HB 5210 is likely to be combined with a similar measure, HB 5591, which also requires individuals be paid equally for work performed under “comparable” conditions, rather than current law requiring equal pay for work performed under “similar” conditions.
At a press conference earlier in the week, state Rep. Derek Slap (D-West Hartford), who introduced HB 5210, said it was intended to help women achieve greater pay equity in the workplace.
He was asked by a reporter why, given concerns about Connecticut' s high cost of doing business, he was proposing yet another mandate on employers.
Despite widespread opposition from employers to the bill, Slap said he believed it was "going to be good for business."
Unfortunately, at the same press conference, another speaker claimed that objections to bill "are rooted in two things—that's the way we've always done it and bigotry."
Gender-based pay discrimination is wrong—and illegal. CBIA supports pay equity. However, these bills add new layers of unnecessary regulation.
However, these bills, as drafted, add new layers of unnecessary regulation and barriers to transparency and job creation.
CBIA opposes both bills, as currently written, based on the widespread concerns expressed by many of our member companies.
Both measures complicate the process of hiring new employees and ensuring people receive equal pay for equal work.
Prohibiting employers from asking job candidates about their salary history hampers the free exchange of information that both parties need to understand a prospective employee’s value, and ensure employees are properly and competitively compensated.
This is best achieved through more transparency—not less. Enforcing current law is the answer to eliminating discrimination in the workplace.
Our opposition to these bills has to do with their unintended consequences—not their stated goal of equity.