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How much do you make?

    May 10, 2017

    Asking a job applicant for salary history could become a thing of the past.  Momentum appears building for laws prohibiting this practice.  California and New York are considering legislation.  The state of Massachusetts will prohibit asking prospective hires for salary histories starting in 2018.  Massachusetts is the first state to enact such a law, which reads:  “It shall be an unlawful practice for an employer to: … seek the wage or salary history of a prospective employee from the prospective employee or a current or former employer or to require that a prospective employee’s prior wage or salary history meet certain criteria…”

    The objective of the Massachusetts’ legislation is to eliminate the pay gap between women and men.  The rationale is that because employers desire to pay new hires the minimum, a new hire’s lower salary history may follow that individual into a new job, which perpetuates unequal pay between men and women.

    Some businesses object to this legislation.  They argue that because people rarely want to take a job for less money than they currently earn, a prospective new employer needs to know how much the applicant makes.  Otherwise, the employer, or job recruiter, risks wasting time with a candidate when the salary expectations of the employer and candidate due not match.

    Brian A. Walker helps businesses and individuals in employment, business, and real estate related litigation and transactions from the Wenatchee office of Ogden Murphy Wallace PLLC. You can reach Brian at or at (509) 663-1954.