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There are currently nine US cities, states, and territories that have banned (or soon may ban) salary inquiries from the interview and hiring process. Historically, a candidate was asked for their desired salary or salary range at some point during the interview process. These salary history bans make a direct inquiry with a candidate about compensation a discriminatory practice.

Locations include California, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Orleans, New York City, Oregon, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Puerto Rico. In some cases, it applies to all employers; in others, only to public employers. This map shows the breakdown.

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We believe this number will continue to rise, as the push to decrease the wage gap for women and people of color continues to gain ground across the US. Similar laws are already pending in Idaho, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Washington State. In addition, a federal ban is being considered.

Be aware that fines for violation of the salary history ban can be steep: in New York City, for example, non-compliance can be met with penalties that will range from $125,000 (for an unintentional violation), up to $250,000.

Based on the above, Gecko Hospitality highly recommends that you do not ask any candidates about their salary history and that you remove all such questions from any forms you use.

So, without knowing salary history, how do you find great employees?

Although hiring practices have changed over the years, asking for salary history has remained constant. Some companies may be uneasy about hiring without knowing the previous history of a candidate. Eventually, as more cities and states adopt “no-salary-history legislation,” this will become part of the usual hiring process. For now, these tips can help you with hiring, particularly if you’re in one of those areas where the ban is currently or soon to be in place.

  • Think carefully about the role and set a salary range according to the expertise needed to perform the job. According to HBR.org, “A candidate’s current salary should have no bearing on what an employer is willing to pay for a particular position.”
  • Make the salary range public along with the specific job requirements in job postings. While you may still receive inquiries from unqualified applicants, it may help to filter through the first wave of candidates. Again, from HBR.org: “Or they could consider a bold step and try sharing the range for a position. They can make clear that the candidate will be placed in the range based on their specific skill set or experience level.”

Your best option may be to work with a recruiter to ensure you’re only spending time and resources on the most highly qualified candidates. Always remember that we’re here to help with your hiring needs.


This is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or as a comprehensive explanation of hiring practices or the law.


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