For many decades it has been routine and customary for some employers to ask job applicants for their salary history. This information is often requested in job applications and during job interviews. Effective January 1, 2018, however, a new California law prohibits this practice.
Pursuant to California Labor Code section 432.3 employers are prohibited from asking job applicants for their salary or benefits history. Moreover, employers may not use this information in making hiring and compensation decisions. The new law does not, however, prohibit a job applicant from “voluntarily and without prompting” disclosing salary history information to a prospective employer. When the applicant chooses to do so, the employer may use this information as “a factor” in making compensation decisions.
Additionally, this new law gives the job applicant the right to obtain the pay information concerning the job opening. Specifically, upon reasonable request, the employer must provide the applicant with the pay scale for the position being sought.
Though this statute applies to private and public employees, it does not apply to salary information of public employees that is subject to disclosure pursuant to public records law.
This new Labor Code section presents a potential stumbling block for the unwary employer. Prudent employers doing business in California should consider revising their job applications and web application forms, their applicant interview questions, and their compensation procedures to avoid violations of this section. We anticipate that this law will create fertile ground for new claims and litigation brought against employers by job applicants.
For the complete text of the new law select the link below:
Complete Text of the New Law