Efficient And Effective Business Litigation

Can employers ask applicants about their salary history?

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2022 | Employment Law |

Employers should a serious look at job applicants when they consider their qualifications.  But is it illegal for California employers to ask job applicants about their salary history.

Salary history ban

Since 2018, California’s employment law imposed a salary history ban upon employers. Employers may not seek this information personally or through an agent such as a recruiter.

Banned salary history information also includes compensation and benefits. Employers cannot seek information on the value of equity, health insurance or other benefits. Employers may ask applicants, however, if there are any benefits that they would be willing to give up if they do not ask about the value of those benefits.

Employers must assure that recruiters do not seek salary history information, or they may be held legally liable. They should also revise any written applications to assure salary information is not sought.

Voluntary disclosure

Applicants may, voluntarily and without prompting, disclose their salary histories to prospective employers. If voluntarily disclosed, employers may rely on that information to determine salary if there are other factors justifying compensation differences.

Employers should document an applicant’s voluntary disclosure. They also need to take measures to assure that any disclosed salary history does not become the sole factor in determining that applicant’s salary which may also violate California’s Equal Pay Act.

Post-offer verification

Employers may ask an applicant’s previous employers to verify their salary after a job offer was made. But San Francisco and some other California jurisdictions require previous that employers have written authorization from the employee before disclosing this information.

Salary range

Employers must also provide a pay scale if an applicant makes a reasonable written or verbal request. They should document when this request is made and fulfilled.

The pay scale is not defined under the law, but employers should be prepared to disclose the pay range for a position.

Employers should also explain that the range also depends on an applicant’s qualifications and experience. Salary ranges may be included in recruitment materials.

Attorneys can assist business’ compliance with federal and California employment laws. They can also represent their rights in investigations and legal proceedings.