Illinois is not yet on the salary history ban wagon. For the second time since 2017, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a law that would prohibit employers from seeking salary history information from prospective employees, among other fair pay provisions.

House Bill 4163 closely resembles the bill the Governor vetoed in 2017, House Bill 2462. The bill would amend Illinois’ Equal Pay Act to:

  • Prohibit discrimination in wages among employees performing substantially similar work which requires substantially similar skill, effort, and responsibility.
  • Require that factors used to describe pay differentials not be based on sex or any protected characteristic and account for the entire differential.
  • Prohibit employers from seeking salary history, including benefits or other compensation, of any job applicant unless the information is a matter of public record or the applicant is a current employee.
  • Create a private right of action against employers, which could lead to compensatory and punitive damages.

In a message to the General Assembly, Governor Rauner offered specific recommendations for future successful salary history legislation that would gain his support. The Governor noted the law should resemble that of Massachusetts, which, he stated, has “a best-in-the-country approach” to salary history legislation.

The Governor’s recommended law would allow employers to consider salary history information in limited circumstances, including when a prospective employee has voluntarily disclosed their current or prior salary. The Governor’s suggested amendments also would permit an employer to seek to confirm salary history after making an offer of employment with salary negotiated. Also like Massachusetts’, the Governor recommended inclusion of a “self-evaluation” defense, where employers can use proactive pay analyses and progress toward eliminating pay differentials as an affirmative defense to actions alleging unequal pay.

The legislature has not yet responded to the Governor’s recommendations.