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Will asking about salary history be banned in California?

Among the things the hiring process typically involves for a business owner is asking applicants a good deal of questions. This includes questions on the application and questions in any interviews conducted.

It can be critical for employers to give careful thought as to what sorts of questions they are going to ask job applicants. For one, what things they ask could impact the quality of the information they have for making hiring decisions. Also, there are certain things that employers are prohibited from asking applicants about. Asking prohibited questions to applicants could cause big legal problems for a business. So, legal guidance on what questions and other things it is important for them to avoid in their hiring procedures is something a business owner may want to seek out.

The list of things employers statewide can’t ask applicants could soon be getting an addition here in California. A bill is being considered in the state which would prohibit employers from asking job applicants about their prior salary. There are currently three states that have such a prohibition in place: Delaware, Massachusetts and Oregon.

Proponents of the bill say that the measure could help with combating unfair wage gaps, such as gender-related wage gaps. They argue that employers having information on applicants’ past salaries could sometimes end up perpetuating past wage discrimination.

The bill’s opponents, meanwhile, say the ban could be very burdensome to businesses and could deprive employers of useful information.

The bill made it through the state assembly earlier this year. The state senate is expected to hold a vote on it next week.

As a note, a couple years ago, a similar bill made it through the state’s legislature, but was vetoed by the governor.

Do you think that, this time through, California will end up banning employers from asking prospective hires about their salary history? What impacts do you think such a ban would have?

Source: The Orange County Register, “Previous salary? Soon, the question might be illegal,” Margot Roosevelt, Sept. 7, 2017

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