As discussed in the November 2017 edition of Employment Flash, a California law that went into effect on January 1, 2018, prohibits employers from asking job applicants for information about their salary history but does not prohibit employers from considering salary information that an applicant volunteers without any prompting. The law requires employers to provide a position’s pay scale to an applicant upon reasonable request but did not define key terms such as “applicant,” “reasonable request” or “pay scale.”

Assembly Bill 2282, which went into effect on January 1, 2019, offers some clarity. The new law defines (i) “applicant” as an individual who is seeking employment with, and is not currently employed by, the employer, (ii) “reasonable request” as a request made after an applicant has completed an initial interview with the employer, and (iii) “pay scale” as a salary or hourly wage range. The new law clarifies that employers may ask about an applicant’s salary expectation for the position for which they have applied. In addition, the new law clarifies that when an employer is setting a new salary for an existing employee, the employer may consider the individual’s current pay, but any resulting wage disparity must be based on one or more of the following factors: (i) a seniority system, (ii) a merit system, (iii) a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, and (iv) a bona fide factor other than sex.

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