Law Spotlight Blog, on Aug. 15 New Jersey banned salary history requests. The New Jersey law makes it unlawful for an employer to (1) screen a job applicant based on the applicant's salary history, (2) require that the applicant's salary history satisfy any minimum or maximum criteria, or (3) use an applicant's refusal to volunteer compensation information as a factor in any employment decision.

However, employers may consider an applicant's salary history in determining compensation if the applicant voluntarily – "without prompting or coercion" – provides the information. Additionally, after the employer has made an offer of employment, the employer may ask an applicant to provide written authorization to confirm salary history. Employers that do business in multiple states can include a salary history inquiry on their employment application, so long as the application states that applicants who will be working in New Jersey do not have to answer the question. The New Jersey law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

Illinois passed a similar law on July 31, prohibiting employers from (1) screening a job applicant based on the applicant's salary history; (2) requesting or requiring wage or salary history as a condition of being considered for employment, being interviewed or being considered for an offer of employment; and (3) requesting or requiring that an applicant disclose wage or salary history as a condition of employment. The Illinois law took effect on Sept. 29.

Contrary to the New Jersey law, however, employers may not consider or rely on a voluntary disclosure of salary history as a factor in determining whether to make an offer or determine an applicant's compensation.

New Jersey and Illinois join at least 18 other states and a number of cities that prohibit salary history questions during the application stage of employment.

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