New Laws Banning the Salary History Question

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Potential new laws are on the horizon that would ban employers asking questions about salary history during the interview process. Cities such as New York City, San Francisco, and Massachusetts have already passed legislation that prohibits employers from requesting salary information from job candidates. Hefty fines will be imposed on those that do not comply.

These laws are becoming more prevalent in order to counteract the disadvantages that salary history requests put on women and other minority groups. Often employers do not intend to use the info given about history against the candidate but bias opinions can creep in if the history is discussed.

Here are some recommendations to ensure that you adhere to such laws and prepare in advance for those that may come into play in your municipality.

Employers should avoid asking about salary history.
Once the information is out on the candidate’s pay history, it can never be taken back and could affect the thought processes of the employer. The gender gap is a real problem and minorities suffer too when it comes to prior salary history. Let it not even become a factor and simply don’t discuss it during the interview process.

Focus on the open position and the pay expectation.
Rather than discussing salary history, employers should talk with their candidate about the responsibilities and skill sets necessary required for the position. The conversation should be a two-way street where both of you discuss the expectations when it comes to salary.

Be sure that Human Resources have made the salary amount clear as far as what the company will pay. Go into the interview ready to discuss options with your candidate. Previous salary history should not have a bearing on what they will get paid.

Know that this is not just for female candidates.
The laws banning the salary history question are not only to protect women. In fact, this is important for all candidates and an essential element to a company’s culture. Avoiding these questions shows that you are unbiased and pay based on what suits the role and candidate that accepts the position.

In any situation, you want to be sure that you handle salary questions with attention and detail. The laws that have been put in place and are coming in the near future will help to protect candidates and keep employers an unbiased mindset. The compensation discussion should be beneficial to both the candidate and company. Work to keep these conversations positive with the goal to eliminate any unfair practices.

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