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CA Bans Salary History Question

California employers, are you ready for AB 168 (CA Bans salary history questions) when recruiting and hiring in 2018? The below article is from the law offices of Fisher Phillips in CA concerning AB 168, a new state law that bans salary history inquiries when interviewing applicants.  

Governor Brown Signs Legislation Banning Salary History Inquiries in CA

California joins other states and municipalities in banning inquiries into salary history of applicants.  AB 168 prohibits employers from seeking salary history information or relying on the salary history information regarding applicants for employment.  AB 168 goes into effect on January 1, 2018.

California has joined the ranks of a growing number of jurisdictions to prevent employers from asking about salary history information.  On October 12, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 168 (Eggman), a bill that prohibits public and private employers from seeking or relying upon the salary history of applicants for employment.

What’s The Rationale?

Gender pay equity has been a hot topic nationally and in California in recent years.  According to federal data from 2015, the median wages for women in California are 84.8 percent of those for men.

What Can’t Employers Do?

AB 168 makes it unlawful for an employer to seek salary history information, orally or in writing, personally or through an agent, about an applicant for employment.  “Salary history information” includes compensation and benefits.

In addition, AB 168 prohibits an employer from relying on the salary history information of an applicant as a factor in determining whether to offer employment to an applicant or what salary to offer an applicant.  This language appears to significantly undercut the language enacted last year in AB 1676.  AB 1676 specifically provided that salary history cannot “by itself” be used to justify pay inequality, but presumably salary history could still be a relevant factor.  However, AB 168 provides that an employer cannot rely on salary history as “a factor” at all.

AB 168 specifies that it does not prohibit an applicant from “voluntarily and without prompting” disclosing salary history information to a prospective employer.  If the applicant does so, the employer may consider or rely on that information in determining the salary for that applicant.

In addition, the new law provides that it does not apply to salary history information disclosable to the public pursuant to federal or state law, such as the California Public Records Act or the federal Freedom of Information Act.  Salary information for public employees is largely a matter of public record.

What Must Employers Do?

AB 168 also requires an employer, upon reasonable request, to provide the pay scale information to an applicant applying for employment.  Therefore, if an applicant inquires as to how much a specific position pays, the employer is required to provide the pay scale for that position.



What Should Employers Do Next?


AB 168 goes into effect on January 1, 2018.  Prior to that date, employers should carefully review their employment applications and hiring processes to ensure that they do not impermissibly inquire into, or rely upon, salary history information.  In particular, job applications and new hire packets should be amended to remove any inquiries into prior salary history.  In addition, all staff involved in the hiring process should be trained about the law’s new requirements and how it impacts the types of inquiries and questions that are permissible and not permissible.

Article from the law offices of Fisher Phillips – CA. (Oct. 12, 2017 by Benjamin Ebbink, Fisher Phillips )