Asking about salary history could soon be on the way out nationwide

The practice of banning questions on salary history continues to gain steam nationwide.  The laws are designed to close the gender pay gap.  So far, Massachusetts is the only state that has a ban that affects private employers from asking about salary history (effective July 1, 2018), however other cities and states have either passed laws prohibiting the question, or considered form of legislation.  A CNN article reports that 22 states have considered similar measures to Massachusetts.  While there is no federal law yet on a salary history, this is something that employers should review in their hiring practices as well as their pay practices.  Let’s review these initiatives:


On August 1, 2016, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed the Equal Pay Act, which requires men and women to be paid equally for comparable work(which is further defined).  In addition, there is a provision that prohibits private and state employers from asking prospective workers about their salary history from previous jobs.  This goes into effect on July 1, 2018.

New York

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order No. 161 “Ensuring Pay Equity by State Employers.”  This executive order bans state entities from asking applicants about previous salary history.

New York City

On April 5, 2017 the New York City Council approved a bill which will prohibit all employers in the city from inquiring about an applicant’s salary history.    Mayor de Blasio signed this pay equity law on May 4, 2017.  This new law, which applies to private-sector employers is effective on October 31, 2017.

New Orleans, LA

Similar to the law already in New York, on January 25, 2017, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed an executive order which forbids city agencies from asking about prior salary history.

Philadelphia, PA

On January 23, 2017, Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney signed an ordinance which bans private-sector employers from asking applicants about prior salary history.  This ordinance was the first private-sector ban in the country.  This was scheduled to go into effect on May 23, 2017, however it is currently on hold pending a lawsuit brought on by the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia.

Pittsburgh, PA

The Pittsburgh City Council passed a bill on January 24, 2017 which prohibited the city from asking about previous salary history.  The Mayor officially signed it on January 30th, and has taken effect.  The private-sector is not included in this law.


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