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Legislative Advocacy

Posted on: July 30, 2019

Acting Gov. Oliver Signs Law Prohibiting Worker’s Wages Inquiries

Yesterday, Acting Governor Oliver signed into law A-1094, which prohibits all employers from asking about workers’ wage and salary history. Specifically, the new law makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to screen a job applicant based on their salary history, including but not limited to prior wages, salaries or benefits or require the applicant’s salary history to satisfy any minimum or maximum criteria. An employer may still consider salary history in determining salary and benefits, may verify the applicant’s salary history only if the applicant voluntarily provides such information and can request the applicant provide written authorization to confirm salary history after offers of employment.

This new law will not apply for internal transfers or promotions; any attempt by an employer to obtain or verify a job applicant’s non-salary related background information provided that the employer must specify that salary history cannot be disclosed; inquiries regarding an applicant’s previous experience with incentives, commission plans and terms and conditions of the plans; or any actions taken by an employer pursuant to any federal law or regulations that expressly requires the disclosure or verification of salary history.

An employer is not prohibited from offering the applicant information regarding wage or salary rates set by a collective bargaining agreement or by civil service or other laws. Also, an employer is not prohibited from paying those rates if the applicant is hired. An employer is also not prohibited from acquiring salary history information that is publicly available; however, that information cannot be retained or considered when determining salary, benefits or compensation.

 Any employer who violates this new law can be liable for a civil penalty of a maximum $1,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation.

 We suggest you review this new law, which takes effect on January 1, 2020, with your administrator and labor counsel.

 Contact: Lori Buckelew, Senior Legislative Analyst,, 609-695-3481 x112.

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