New Jersey is moving closer to enacting a law that would prohibit employers from inquiring about applicants’ salary histories. The bill, passed in the Democratic-controlled state Assembly and now the state Senate, is one of several similar bills that have passed or are being considered across the country. Governor Chris Christie now will decide whether to sign the bill into law.
The proposed legislation would amend New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination to prohibit employers from (1) screening a job applicant based on the applicant’s wage history, including by requiring that an applicant’s prior wages, salaries or benefits satisfy any minimum or maximum criteria, or (2) relying on an applicant’s salary to determine a salary amount for the applicant at any stage in the hiring process, including finalizing an employment contract. Employers also would be prohibited from asking about the salary history, including compensation and benefits, of a job applicant. However, an employer may seek the salary history if the prospective employee voluntarily, without employer coercion, provides the employer with written authorization to do so.
Delaware, Massachusetts, New York City, Oregon, Philadelphia, and Puerto Rico have passed similar laws, and a number of other jurisdictions, including California, Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and San Francisco, have proposed similar bills.
As these types of laws are introduced and passed across the country, employers should review their employment application forms and hiring processes to ensure compliance with the new laws.