California Employers

California Bans Salary History Inquiries for Job Applicants

Financial chart on chalkboardBy Anthony Amendola and Justine Lazarus

On October 12, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a significant piece of employment legislation that prohibits California employers from asking job applicants about their salary histories.  The new law will take effect on January 1, 2018.

Assembly Bill 168, which adds section 432.3 to the California Labor Code, is intended to promote equal pay, particularly between men and women.  It prohibits all California employers (including state and local government employers and the state Legislature) from

  • Seeking from job applicants, whether “orally or in writing, personally or through an agent,” salary history information (including both pay and benefits); and
  • Relying on salary history as a factor in determining whether to offer employment to an applicant or what salary to offer an applicant.

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Don’t Show Me The Money

Massachusetts Pay Equity Law Has Implications for California and New York Employers That Seek or Use Applicant Wage History

By Erica Parks
August 23, 2016

The Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (“MEPA”) has prohibited employers from paying men and women differently for “work of like or comparable character” since 1945, nearly two decades before the federal Equal Pay Act (“EPA”) was passed and before any other state passed pay equity legislation.  This month, Massachusetts Governor, Charlie Baker, signed into law Senate Bill 2119 (“S.2119”), which makes several significant changes to the MEPA, most of which are similar to recent amendments to California and New York equal pay legislation.  Notably, however, S.2119 makes Massachusetts the first in the nation to prohibit employers from requesting or seeking an applicant’s salary history.  S.2119 can be read in full here.

Once S.2119 goes into effect, on July 1, 2018, the previously undefined term “comparable character” will be replaced by “comparable work,” which is defined as “work that is substantially similar in content and requiring substantially similar skill, effort, and responsibility and performed under similar working conditions.”  This new definition mirrors California’s recently expanded Fair Pay Act (“CFPA”), which broadened the scope of claims that can be pursued under the law from claims for jobs that require “equal skill” to claims for “substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions.” By comparison, New York Labor Law § 194(1) (“NYLL”) and the federal EPA require equal pay for “equal work.” (more…)