Ban on the Salary Question Expanding

At an early age, most were taught to avoid talking about numbers of a personal matter: age, weight, salary. Now, increasingly, local and state legislators agree that this extends to potential employers. In numerous places, laws are being passed that ban questions pertaining to salary history.

Supporters of the laws say that they help combat the gender-based wage gap that can too often follow woman from job to job and studies show that this wage gap only widens as they progress in their careers.

Cities and states that have, in some form, banned questions related to previous salary include: California, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Orleans, New York City, Oregon, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Puerto Rico.

These bans pose an issue for larger firms with offices in multiple locations with different iterations of the ban. While New Orleans has banned inquires only for city departments and employees of contractors who work for the city, states like Delaware and New York ban all employers from asking about a candidate’s pay history. This means that larger firms will have to decide whether they want to tailor their hiring approach on a location basis or create a model that can be replicated to avoid the question.

“A candidate’s past salary history is not indicative of what they are worth; it’s more about what the market compensates for a particular position,” says Stacey Browning, president of Paycor, in a statement to Forbes. Employers wanting to change their thinking on hiring practices might want to take a more holistic approach. Lydia Frank, vice president of PayScale tells USA Today that organizations should “price the position, not price the person.”