Just a few short weeks ago, on October 31st, salary history legislation went into effect in New York City making it illegal for “public and private employers of any size in New York City to ask about applicant’s salary history during the hiring process, including in advertisements for positions, on applications, or in interviews.” Massachusetts will follow suit on 7/1/2018. California has legislation in place the prohibits employers from “relying solely on salary history to justify disparity between similarly situated workers.” In other jurisdictions, legislation is being proposed, has been voted down, or is currently being challenged through the court system.
Advocates of this legislation have established a connection between ongoing gender pay inequity when compensation for a role is determined in part by previous salary history. As the NYC legislation noted, “Everyone in New York City deserves to be paid based on their skills and qualifications, not their previous salary. Inquiring about salary history during the hiring process, an action banned under the new Law, often creates a cycle of inequity and discrimination in the workplace, which perpetuates lower salaries specifically for women and people of color.”