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In the News: Illinois Bill to Prevent Salary History Inquiries Falls Short

The Illinois state legislature passed a measure late last year that would have prevented employers from inquiring about an applicant’s salary history, a move that was ultimately designed to amend the Equal Pay Act of 2003. However, Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed the bill, and the legislature failed to garner enough votes to override the veto.

Specifically, the amended bill would have prohibited employers from:

  • Screening job applicants based on their wage or salary history.
  • Requiring that an applicant’s prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria.
  • Requesting that applicants provide prior wages or salary information as a condition of being interviewed or being further considered for a job.
  • Requiring that an employee sign a contract or waiver prohibiting them from discussing information about their wages.
  • Seeking salary information, including benefits or other compensation, on a job applicant from any current or former employer

The legislature suggested that the measure would lower the burden on employees claiming equal pay violations by replacing the requirement that an employee prove that the jobs being performed require “equal skill, effort and responsibility” with a “substantially similar” standard.

A number of states – including Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon and Puerto Rico – have passed similar measures to prevent employers from obtaining salary history information or using that information to set salary. On a more local level, New York City, Philadelphia and San Francisco have also implemented similar measures within city limits. The rest of California, as well as North Carolina and Pennsylvania are also considering similar measures.

SHRM notes that “with no slowdown of this trend in sight, employers should review their employment application forms and hiring and pay practices and begin to educate recruiters and managers on how to comply with pay history prohibitions.” Further, employers should consider reviewing all confidentiality agreements for any language that may prohibit an employee from discussing his or her wages.

If you need assistance with policy and confidentiality agreements, Abel HR can help with a full range of human resource solutions and HR services for small businesses.

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