Pay History Now Off-Limits in Job Interviews

Pay History Now Off-Limits in Job Interviews

A new amendment to the Illinois Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from asking job applicants for their salary history. The law is intended to help close the wage gap between men and women by preventing pre-existing disparities from carrying over to new jobs.
In a statement to the Chicago Tribune, legislation sponsor Rep. Anna Moeller said, “Women tend to make less than their male counterparts. If (a company is) basing it off past wages, it causes them to continue to get paid less. Employers will no longer be able to make wage offers by using previous wage history.”

As of September 29, Illinois employers must remove pay history questions from their application and interview processes. Companies and staffing agencies are also prohibited from disclosing past salary information to prospective employers. (The law does not apply to candidates who are current employees of the hiring company.) If a candidate volunteers the information, employers may not use that history as a basis for setting the person’s wages upon hiring. Violations of the law can lead to civil penalties of up to $10,000.

Employers should be sure to review hiring procedures and interview questions with their human resources staff, and ensure that pay differentials among employees are based on objective, non-discriminatory standards.